Saudi religious police on trial over man’s death


The officers from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice or the Muttawa are accused of responsibility for the death of Ahmed Al Bulawi in May, the English-language Saudi Gazette reported.

Bulawi, 50, died while being held for questioning in one of the Muttawa’s offices in the northeastern city of Tabuk for allegedly associating with a woman who was not a relative.

A senior member of the 5000-strong Muttawa, which enforces a strict Islamic code in the ultra-conservative kingdom, later told local media that Bulawi had not broken any of Saudi Arabia’s segregation laws.

The Muttawa have also faced investigation in the Mecca region after an Asian woman fell to her death from the fourth floor of a building that was stormed by religious police last month.

Local media have reported growing widespread frustration over the Muttawa’s actions, shown by attacks on its officers by members of the public on the rise and a recent decision by the kingdom’s consultative body to block a recommendation to increase government funding to the Muttawa.

The first civil court case against the Muttawa was adjourned on May 13 to July after none of its officers showed up at the opening hearing, the woman plaintiff’s lawyer said.



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