No Atty. for Saudi Virtue Cops

Could they make the cover-up any more obviuos? I mean, its hard to feel sorry for any mutawa’een…so I could care less about these guy’s “rights,” but now it looks like we aren’t gonna get any investigation of the commission at all. Surprise. 

RIYADH, 4 September 2007 — According to a senior official in the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, no attorney will be assigned to defend the two imprisoned commission members allegedly responsible for the death of a young Saudi man, Salman Al-Huraisi, in late May.

They are accused of beating the man to death when his house was raided because of suspicions he was selling alcohol.

Speaking to reporters following the completion of the second day of a training course for commission members in Riyadh, the director general of the Riyadh Commission, Abdullah Al-Shitri, said the attorney general would represent the suspects in the trial.

“The case has been transferred to the concerned authorities and we are waiting for the trial’s outcome,” he said.

The trial is expected to begin soon though Al-Huraisi’s relatives are still looking for an attorney to represent them in court. Al-Shitri did not rule out the possibility that mistakes were made during the raid on Al-Huraisi’s house.

“Anybody who works for the commission might make mistakes. However, those who do will be held accountable for their actions.”

He said the commission should not be blamed for mistakes made by individuals. Al-Shitri pointed out that Al-Huraisi’s case in particular had “enabled the commission to correct errors and re-evaluate several aspects” of its field work.

In another high-profile case, three commission members and a security officer were found not guilty of wrongdoing in an incident which resulted in the death of a Saudi man at a commission center in Tabuk. The two cases produced directives from Interior Minister Prince Naif that members of the commission must strictly follow a royal decree issued in 1981 which states that commission members must hand over any suspect in their custody to local police following an arrest.

Al-Shitri said the directive was being implemented in Riyadh and elsewhere in the Kingdom. He ruled out the possibility that commission officers be allowed to chase suspects in cars, adding that the consequences of such actions might be harmful to both the pursued and the pursuer.

He said that organizing training courses for the commission’s field workers was important, especially since field workers must be aware of criminal law procedures during their work. “This present training course is considered one of the important courses given to employees and field workers to make them properly prepared for their work,” Al-Shitri said. – AN

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