Interpol is holding a conference in Istanbul to discuss security threats and hold high-profile elections for the new leadership of the international police agency
Police chiefs and other representatives from the 194 member states of the organization are participating in a three-day convention, which is scheduled to vote on Thursday to elect a new president and executive committee members.
Vice President Kim Jong-un from South Korea was quickly elected to replace Meng Wanzhou’s remaining term. Kim Jong Un’s presidency was originally scheduled to end in 2020, but after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Interpol to cancel its annual conference last year, his term was extended by one year. His successor will be elected for a four-year term.
As representatives from China and the United Arab Emirates are bidding for the top positions, the vote has also caused more controversy. Critics believe that if these candidates win, their country will use Interpol’s global influence to arrest domestic dissidents and even political opponents in exile, instead of hunting down drug smugglers, human traffickers, and war crime suspects. And suspected extremists.
One of the candidates was accused by human rights organizations of participating in torture and arbitrary detention in the United Arab Emirates. Major General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, Inspector General of the UAE Ministry of Interior, is already a member of the Executive Committee of Interpol. He said he wanted to modernize Interpol.
Five countries filed criminal proceedings against him, including France, where Interpol’s headquarters are located, and Turkey, where elections are held.
Another controversial candidate is Hu Binchen, an official of the Ministry of Public Security of China, who is expected to fill a vacant position on the Executive Committee of Interpol. Hu Jintao has the support of the Chinese government, which is suspected of using global police agencies to hunt down exiled dissidents and missing their citizens.
Interpol stated that it refused to be used for political purposes.
Although the Secretary-General of Interpol manages Interpol on a daily basis, the President is still the puppet of the Lyon Organization in France and plays a role in supervising the work of the police agency and guiding its overall direction. The post of Secretary-General is currently held by Juergen Stock of Germany.
Meng is now serving 13.5 years in prison for corruption and accused his wife Grace Meng of living in France with her children under police protection. She insisted in an interview with the Associated Press that it was fabricated and politically motivated.
Fraser reports from Ankara, Turkey. John Lester of Paris contributed.