Interpol, the global law enforcement body, elected as president an Emirati official accused by human-rights groups of involvement in torture, defying objections from Western officials who say authoritarian governments have exploited the group in recent years.

Maj. Gen. Ahmed Nasser al-Raisi won the race to become Interpol’s president, an unpaid and largely ceremonial post that nonetheless holds some sway over the body. As president, he will wield one vote on the 13-member executive committee, which is also being elected Thursday.