Minister Alistair Burt probed over link to UAE police chief

Minister probed over UAE police chief link: Former Foreign Office minister is being investigated over connections to Arab law enforcement official accused of torturing UK national

  • Alistair Burt named in a leaked document as someone who could help Al-Raisi
  • Project Associates (PA) identified Mr Burt as a ‘key figure’ it could ‘reach out to’
  • Al-Raisi was reportedly involved in Matthew Hedges arrest and torture in UAE

A former Foreign Office minister is being probed over his links to an Arab police chief accused of torturing a UK national following an investigation by the Mail.

Tory grandee Alistair Burt was named in a leaked document as someone who could help United Arab Emirates’ Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi become the head of Interpol.

Project Associates (PA), a British lobby company hired to promote Al-Raisi, identified Mr Burt as a ‘key figure’ it could ‘reach out to’. 

Tory grandee Alistair Burt was named in a leaked document as someone who could help United Arab Emirates’ Major General Ahmed Naser Al-Raisi become the head of Interpol

A PA spokesman said the document was ‘a proposal which sets out a number of potential activities, many of which had not taken place’.

Now the Parliamentary Ombudsman is investigating our revelation as part of a probe into the Foreign Office’s response to the detention of British academic Matthew Hedges. 

Al-Raisi was reportedly involved in his arrest and torture in the UAE. 

The student was held in solitary confinement for nearly six months in 2018 and Mr Burt, then Middle East minister, was at the forefront of the Foreign Office response. 

Mr Hedges lodged a complaint to the ombudsman after his release questioning why British consular officials did not visit him for seven weeks. 

He later looked at Mr Burt’s ties to the UAE after it was revealed he became chairman of the Emirates Foundation – set up to improve ties between the UAE and Britain – after leaving the Foreign Office in 2019.

Now the Parliamentary Ombudsman is investigating our revelation as part of a probe into the Foreign Office’s response to the detention of British academic Matthew Hedges

Mr Hedges told the Mail he believes Mr Burt was ‘part of a process which contributed to my detention’.

An FCDO spokesman said: ‘FCDO staff and ministers worked incredibly hard on Matthew’s case and were delighted he was able to return to the UK.’

Both Mr Burt and the Parliamentary Ombudsman declined to comment.

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