New Interpol president is an Emirati general accused of overseeing torture
(CNN) Global police agency Interpol has elected UAE Inspector General Ahmed Naser al-Raisi, who has been accused of overseeing torture, as its new president.
Raisi, who has been part of the UAE's police force since 1980 and serves as inspector general at the country's ministry of interior, received 68.9% of the vote at Interpol's general assembly in Istanbul.
The role is largely ceremonial -- he will chair the general assembly as well as three executive committee meetings for each of the four years of his tenure.
The vote went through despite criminal cases made by ex-detainees.
Matthew Hedges, who was detained in the UAE for seven months, filed a claim for damages at the High Court of London against Raisi and several other senior Emirati officials.
He accused them of assault, torture and false imprisonment.
Hedges returned to the United Kingdom in November 2018 after he was pardoned from a life sentence for espionage.
The UAE had released a video depicting him apparently confessing that he was a member of the UK's MI6 intelligence agency.
"The inevitable election of Raisi to Interpol presidency is a serious attack on the values it stands for," Hedges said in a tweet on Thursday.
"His complicity in systematic torture and abuse is legitimised through Interpol and gives the green light to other authoritarian states that they can act without impunity."