Matthew Hedges, 33, spoke out after it was revealed former police chief Major General Nasser Ahmed al-Rais, who oversaw his incarceration, is in the running to become president of the international crime-fighting organisation. Matthew, now a recovering drug addict because of the cocktail of pharmaceuticals he was subjected to during interrogations, said: “To say I’m disappointed that he is even being considered would be an understatement.
“If Saudi Arabia, Russia, China or Iran tried to run for the Interpol presidency they would be rightly condemned. “Just look at the UAE’s record on freedom of speech, judicial standards, the independence of the judiciary and the legislature.
“Yet the Emirates have been able to craft quite a positive face in order to get people in these key positions – and the silence from the international community is deafening.
“The UAE must not be allowed to have this presidency. It would undermine everything Interpol is supposed to stand for.”
Matthew was detained for seven months in 2018 following a two-week research visit as a PhD student for Durham University. He was convicted of spying and sentenced to 25 years but then got a pardon.
Recalling his ordeal from his home in west London, where he lives with wife Daniela Tejada, he said: “I was held in solitary confinement for the whole of my incarceration and forced to sign a confession.
“The room where I was held had no windows and was soundproof. I’d get migraines because the noise of the light, which was bright and never turned off, bounced off the walls.”
In 2017, UAE donated £45million to Interpol.
Maj Gen al-Rais is already on its executive board. He will find out at December’s General Assembly if he’s been elected. Interpol said: “Any member country can propose a candidate up until the elections take place.”