Interpol holds meeting in Istanbul to elect new president
Interpol kicked off its annual meeting in Istanbul yesterday, to discuss security threats and crime trends as well as to hold a closely-watched election for the international police body’s new leadership.
Police chiefs and other representatives from the organization’s 194 member countries are attending the three-day General Assembly which is scheduled to vote tomorrow to elect a new presidency and executive committee members.
The election for president is being followed closely since the first-ever Chinese president of the body, Meng Hongwei, vanished mid-way through his four-year term on a return trip to China in 2018.
It subsequently emerged that he had been detained, accused of bribery and other alleged crimes. Interpol then announced that Meng had resigned the presidency. A vice president, Kim Jong Yan from South Korea, was swiftly elected as a replacement to serve out the rest of Meng’s term.
Kim’s presidency was due to end in 2020, but his tenure has been extended by a year after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Interpol to scrap its annual assembly last year. His replacement will be elected for one four-year term.
The vote is also the subject of added controversy because representatives from China and the UAE are bidding for top posts.
One of the candidates was accused by human rights groups of involvement in torture and arbitrary detentions in the UAE while the other controversial candidate serves as an official at China’s ministry of public security.
Critics contend that if these candidates win, their countries would use Interpol’s global reach to apprehend exiled dissidents and even political opponents at home, instead of hunting down drug smugglers, human traffickers, war crimes suspects and alleged extremists.