And the C-Men are in Court

The hearing in the Al-Huraisi Murder Case is supposed to start today. You remember this one, it is the one where members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the C-Men, or as I like to refer to them, the Ministry of Licentiousness and Lasciviousness – the muttawa) raided the home of Salman Al-Huraisi in Riyadh, detaining many members of his family and apparently (allegedly) beating Al-Huraisi to death.

“One of the three judges presiding over the case today looked at papers submitted by our lawyer and scheduled the hearing for Tuesday,” Ali Al-Huraisi, the victim’s brother, said yesterday.

The Al-Huraisi family is demanding the death penalty for an unnamed commission member. The C-Man has been charged with murder. The Al-Huraisi family was apparently connected with alcohol and narcotics found in the house – something the family has not denied.

Al-Huraisi apparently worked as a security guard at a five-star hotel in Riyadh. He died in late May 2007 after C-Men allegedly beat him following his arrest. Al-Huraisi, together with 11 members of his family, including women and children, were taken to a commission office in the Al-Uraija district of Riyadh where they were detained for various periods ranging from several days to weeks. This is, of course, illegal. The C-Men are only permitted to detain someone who has offended the moral mores of the country long enough to take them to a Police station for formal charging. The evil C-Men are not permitted under Saudi law to interrogate or detain suspects.

It seems that the C-Men have been trying to avoid the court case by settling the matter out of court. Al-Huraisi’s family, however, has stuck to their guns and not succumbed to pressure to drop the case. Apparently relatives have been offered money, cars and title deeds if they drop the case.

The Arab News notes that

Al-Huraisi’s death caused public outrage over the role of the commission. Many writers and columnists have called for the commission to change its methods of operation, particularly the way it deals with people in public.

I’d add to that that they need to change their methods of operation, particularly in the way it deals with people in private as well.

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