ISTANBUL (AP) — Interpol began its annual meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday to discuss security threats and crime trends, as well as the closely watched election for the new leadership of the international police body.
About 470 police chiefs, ministers and other representatives from more than 160 countries are attending the three-day general assembly, which is set to vote on Thursday to elect a new president and executive committee members.
On Tuesday, delegates voted to accede to the Federated States of Micronesia, increasing the number of Interpol members to 195, according to an Interpol statement.
The presidential election is being closely followed as the body’s first Chinese president, Meng Hongwei, disappeared in the middle of his four-year term on a return visit to China in 2018. It later emerged that he was taken into custody, which he was charged with. Bribery and other alleged offences. Interpol then announced that Meng had resigned from the presidency.
,Lyon, the general secretary of the France-based organization, runs Interpol on a day-to-day basis, but the president acts as an individual and has a role in monitoring the work of the police body and guiding its overall direction.,
A vice president of South Korea, Kim Jong-yan, was swiftly chosen as a replacement to serve the remainder of Meng’s term. Kim’s presidency was due to end in 2020, but his term has been extended by a year as the coronavirus pandemic prompted Interpol to cancel its annual gathering last year. He will be elected for a four-year term in his place.
The vote is also the subject of additional controversy as representatives from China and the United Arab Emirates are bidding for the top positions. Critics argue that if these candidates win, their countries will seek Interpol’s global effort to capture exiled dissidents and even political opponents, rather than hunting down drug traffickers, human traffickers, war crime suspects and alleged extremists. will use access.
One of the candidates has been accused by human rights groups of being involved in torture and arbitrary detention in the UAE. Major General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, Inspector General of the UAE Ministry of the Interior, is already a member of the Interpol Executive Committee. He says he wants to modernize Interpol.
Criminal complaints have been filed against him in five countries, including France, where Interpol is headquartered, and Turkey, where elections are being held.
The other controversial candidate is Hu Binchen, an official in China’s Ministry of Public Security who is expected to be up for a vacancy on Interpol’s executive committee. Hu, who is backed by the Chinese government, is suspected to have used a global police agency to trace exiled dissidents and banish its citizens.
Interpol says it has denied being used for political purposes.
Although the Secretary General of Interpol runs Interpol on a day-to-day basis, the President is still a key figure for the Lyon, France, organization and plays a role in overseeing the work of the police body and guiding its overall general direction. That post of Secretary General is currently held by Germany’s Jürgen Stock.
Meng is now serving a 13½-year prison sentence for corruption, allegations that his wife, Grace Meng, who is now living in France with their children under police protection, insisted in an interview with the Associated Press. That Trump was more politically motivated.