Interpol president won’t let women languish in Saudi prisons after rapes scandal

Amidst the international uproar over his elevation to the president of Interpol, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has offered a public apology to women whose “innocence” he says may have been compromised during his…

Interpol president won’t let women languish in Saudi prisons after rapes scandal

Amidst the international uproar over his elevation to the president of Interpol, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has offered a public apology to women whose “innocence” he says may have been compromised during his 13-year tenure as a senior member of the United Arab Emirates’ royal family.

“I offer my deep, deep, deep sorrow … for any person who was sexually abused, raped or tortured,” he told students at a Saudi women’s university in Riyadh on Monday, according to Arab News. Al Maktoum was elected president of Interpol on April 29, after an official committee vetoed an earlier nominee, a French police official whose past kept him from the wider membership. On Thursday, those newly elected, foreign ministers of the Group of 77 (G77) nations confirmed their commitment to Al Maktoum’s election.

An Interpol database of 150 million wanted criminals, which has been exploited by terrorists, is jointly run by Interpol and national police forces. Al Maktoum used his position as a member of the UAE’s Justice Ministry to intervene in the last election of the database, which classified a man as a “Red Alert” based on his status as a kidnapper. Although he says he did not intend to obstruct justice, he also intervened to reassign that “Red Alert” after just one month in a boost to the case against the kidnapper.

Detainees at Abu Dhabi’s men’s prisons were charged with rape in detention facilities where they were never told that their crime was rape, she said,” quoting the former prisoners. “All of us were tortured in extremely brutal ways.”

Prosecutors in that investigation are accusing her former inmate of sexual abuse, but her family is hoping that Interpol will act. A video and photographs of the former prisoner in a wetsuit and white t-shirt entering a Saudi Arabia jail show him wearing no bra, she said. She believes he was tortured in jail and into speaking about the matter on camera, she said.

So far, the Interpol has declined to investigate.

In a statement, Interpol said: “Interpol takes all allegations of ill-treatment and sexual abuse very seriously and has, with other international police organizations, already expressed concern regarding this matter.”

Al Maktoum said that if Interpol investigations uncover wrongdoing, they would be “punished, in full force, by Interpol, the UAE and United Arab Emirates,” which he says encompasses nearly 50 percent of the UN body’s 193 member states. Al Maktoum also called on his compatriots to report allegations of sexual violence against women or children and added that the UAE “would not hesitate” to extradite those responsible.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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