Despite ECHR decision, Serbia, Interpol extradite Bahraini opposition figure
The British the Guardian newspaper says the authorities in Belgrade agreed to extradite opposition figure Ahmed Jaafar Muhammad Ali to Bahrain earlier this week.
The Serbian authorities decided to extradite a Bahraini dissident in cooperation with Interpol, despite a judicial order from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in the first test of the International Police Organization headed by a high-ranking Emirati security official.
The Guardian said the authorities in Belgrade agreed to extradite opposition figure Ahmed Jaafar Muhammad Ali to Bahrain earlier this week.
Days earlier, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had issued "an injunction saying the extradition should be postponed until after 25 February to allow Serbian authorities time to provide more information to the court," which was in response to a request from Belgrade Centre for Human Rights to consider Ali's case.
The court called on the Serbian authorities for more evidence on the case and warned that non-compliance means that Serbia risks breaching the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ali's lawyers said, "A judge in Belgrade informed the Serbian authorities and Interpol about the ruling last Sunday." He was delivered to Bahrain in the early hours of Monday on a chartered plane belonging to Royal Jet, a private Emirati airline headed by a member of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi.
Ali's extradition is the first case of its kind since Major General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, a prominent Emirati security official, was elected to head the Interpol.
Former detainees accused al-Raisi, who oversaw the Emirati detention system, of "complicity in torture" amid growing concern that his election may encourage "authoritarian regimes' abuse of Interpol’s structures to arrest dissidents overseas."
Earlier this month, a complaint was filed against al-Raisi in France containing new reports of torture after he visited Interpol's headquarters in Lyon for the first time as president.
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy told the Guardian, “The fact that Interpol proceeded with this extradition to Bahrain despite knowing they were violating a direct decision from the European court of human rights prohibiting Ahmed’s return sends a devastating message that, under Al-Raisi’s leadership, red lines will be crossed."
Alwadaei added, "This scandal has unfolded on his watch, and Interpol will now be complicit in any abuse faced by Ali."
Very troubling deportation from Serbia to #Bahrain of Ahmed Jaafar Mohamed while his case was still being considered by @ECHR_CEDH. It is on @moi_bahrain to ensure he is not subject to ill-treatment by their authorities who took him into custody at the airport.— Amnesty Bahrain (@aibahrain) January 25, 2022
Ali was arrested in Belgrade in November on the basis of a red notice issued by Bahrain in 2015. He had previously sought asylum in Serbia for fear of being tortured upon return, as he personally said in a Human Rights Watch report on the use of torture in the kingdom.