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Ahmed Jaafar Extradition Represents First Case of Its Kind since Election of Emirati General Al-Raisi to Interpol Presidency: The Guardian

2022-01-26 - 9:34 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The British "The Guardian" newspaper said that the Serbian authorities have extradited a Bahraini dissident, Ahmed Jaafar, in cooperation with Interpol despite an injunction by the European court of human rights, in the first test for the international policing organization under the presidency of a top Emirati security official.

Days earlier the ECHR had issued an injunction saying the extradition should be postponed until after 25 February to allow Serbian authorities time to provide more information to the court, which was responding to a request by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights to consider Ali's case.

The court warned that failure to comply meant that Serbia risked breaching the European convention on human rights.

Ali's lawyers claimed that a judge in Belgrade informed the Serbian authorities and Interpol about the ruling last Sunday (January 23, 2022). He was extradited to Bahrain in the early hours of Monday morning (January 24, 2022) on a charter flight by Royal Jet, a private Emirati airline headed by a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi.

Ali's extradition represents the first case of its kind since Maj Gen Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi, a leading Emirati security official, was elected to the presidency of Interpol.

Al-Raisi, who oversaw the Emirati detention system, was accused by former detainees of complicity in torture amid growing concern that his election could also embolden authoritarian regimes' abuse of Interpol's structures to arrest dissidents overseas.

Earlier this month a complaint containing new allegations of torture was filed against Raisi in France after he visited Interpol's headquarters in Lyon for the first time as president. None of the complaints have resulted in any formal proceedings against the general.

"The fact that Interpol proceeded with this extradition to Bahrain despite knowing they were violating a direct decision from the European court of human rights prohibiting Ahmed's return sends a devastating message that, under Al-Raisi's leadership, red lines will be crossed," said Sayed Ahmed Al-Wadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

"This scandal has unfolded on his watch, and Interpol will now be complicit in any abuse faced by Ali."

When contacted about Ali's case, an Interpol spokesperson said that decisions about extradition and arrests are the responsibility of domestic authorities. "Extradition is a bilateral matter between member countries and Interpol is not involved in this process."

"The Interpol general secretariat was not informed of either the individual's arrest or the extradition ruling by Serbian authorities. Please note also, no individual member of the executive committee, including the president, has any involvement or influence in the decision-making process to publish or cancel a red notice."

The Serbian Ministry of Justice, which approved the extradition, and Royal Jet have been approached for comment.

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