Ex-ministers named for backing a UAE police chief for Interpol job

Four ex-ministers are named in memo secretly backing a UAE police chief for top job at Interpol despite him being sued by a British academic for ‘torture’

  • Four senior British political figures were named in a secret plot, documents show
  • Bid was to help Major General Ahmed Naser Al Raisi become head of Interpol
  • He is an ally of UAE’s prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 
  • Sir Michael Fallon, Alistair Burt and ex-MP Sir Richard Ottoway were identified
  • Former Labour Cabinet minister Baroness Ashton was also named, it emerged 

Four senior British political figures were named in a proposal outlining a secret bid to help an Arab police chief accused of torture become head of Interpol, it emerged last night.

The leaked documents obtained by the Daily Mail reveal details of a proposed covert campaign to make the United Arab Emirates’ Major General Ahmed Naser Al Raisi the new head of the international crime fighting organisation.

Al Raisi is a close ally of the UAE’s billionaire prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who the High Court in London this week found had ordered a spyware hacking operation on British soil.

The Daily Mail can reveal Tory grandees ex-defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, former foreign office minister Alistair Burt and ex-MP Sir Richard Ottoway were identified as ‘key figures and associates’ by a British lobby company hired to promote Al Raisi.

Leaked documents reveal details of a proposed covert campaign to make the United Arab Emirates’ Major General Ahmed Naser Al Raisi (pictured) the new head of Interpol


The Daily Mail can reveal Alistair Burt (left) was identified as a ‘key figures and associates’ by a British lobby company hired to promote Al Raisi. Baroness Ashton (right) was also named

Former Labour Cabinet minister Baroness Ashton was also named. They appear in a memo produced by Project Associates (PA) on behalf of Al Raisi.

A PA spokesman said last night the leaked document was ‘a proposal which sets out a number of potential activities, many of which had not taken place due to changed circumstances’ including Covid travel curbs.

The four ex-ministers were ‘within PA’s network’ whom the firm might ‘reach out to in such a campaign if appropriate.’ 

But none had had any involvement with the Al Raisi campaign.

The Daily Mail can reveal Tory grandees ex-defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon and ex-MP Sir Richard Ottoway (pictured) were identified as ‘key figures and associates’ 

The four ex-ministers (pictured: Michael Fallon) were ‘within PA’s network’ whom the firm might ‘reach out to in such a campaign if appropriate’

BRITONS SUE HIM AFTER ‘ABUSES’ IN UAE JAIL 

British student Matthew Hedges was held in solitary confinement in the UAE on accusations of spying while researching for his PhD.

Mr Hedges, 34, says he was fed a cocktail of drugs during his six months in jail in 2018. In his first month, he slept on the floor and had no access to a shower.

Matthew Hedges, 34, says he was fed drugs during his six months in jail in 2018

He also did not have any medical care despite suffering from panic attacks.

He was released following international protests. 

Mr Hedges has claimed that Ahmed Naser Al Raisi ‘was ultimately responsible’ for his ‘torture and detention’ and is opposed to him taking over Interpol.

The academic is backed by fellow Briton, Ali Issa Ahmad, 28, a football fan imprisoned in the UAE in 2019 after wearing a shirt in the colours of Qatar, UAE’s rival neighbouring country, to a match.

Mr Ahmad, a security guard, claimed he was electrocuted, burned and stabbed.

Both of them are seeking damages against Al Raisi for their ordeal along with other leading figures from the country. They issued claims at the High Court in May.

A senior police figure at the UAE interior ministry, Al Raisi was reportedly involved in the arrest and detention of British academic Matthew Hedges in 2018.

He was also accused of being responsible for torturing an Emirati human rights blogger who was jailed after denouncing Sheikh Mohammed – a close friend of the Queen.

The Interpol president is to be decided in the next few weeks – and the British Government has not said who it will support.

The UAE has previously been accused of trying to ‘buy influence’ in Interpol with a €50million contribution to the French-based organisation in 2017. Campaigners say if Al Raisi wins the contest to be the new president of Interpol it will make a mockery of human rights.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Sheikh Mohammed had used cyber crime to snoop on ex-wife Princess Haya in the UK. 

The sheikh has also been branded an international pariah for the armed kidnapping of his daughters Princess Shamsa and Princess Latifa. Al Raisi used Twitter a week ago to praise Sheikh Mohammed’s ‘wise leadership and vision’.

The leaked PA report reveals how its ‘political experts’ will be used to gain Al Raisi access to senior British political figures.

Human rights groups who say he is unfit to lead Interpol are dismissed as ‘the usual suspects.’ 

The report says: ‘Al Raisi’s candidacy has sparked an organised campaign depicting him as unsuitable… It was to be expected but is extremely damaging.’

It was also important to play down his UAE links, the document adds.

Project Associates would run a ’24/7 press office with tailored messages’ to ‘control negative stories.’

The company’s ‘political and diplomatic experts’ would also gain Al Raisi access to top British and EU politicians – and win them over with ‘effective diplomacy.’

Sir Richard Ottaway and Mr Burt, who was Middle East minister when Mr Hedges was arrested, declined to comment. Sir Michael Fallon said he is ‘not involved’ in the Interpol campaign.

Baroness Ashton could not be contacted. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the four ex-politicians. 

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