Al-Huraisi Killing Case: Commission Members Deny All Charges

I mentioned previously that I would keep updating progress on this trial, involving as it does members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (the C-Men). Last Tuesday was a hearing day in the trial in Riyadh and proceedings from the trial were printed in the Arab News on November 7, 2007 under the title Al-Huraisi Killing Case: Commission Members Deny All Charges.

It seems that truth and justice are not two features of the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (the Ministry of Lasciviousness and Licentiousness) although I would have thought that telling the truth was considered a virtue as much here in the Kingdom as it is elsewhere in the world. Seems that under questioning by the three judges that are hearing the case, the two members of the C-Men that are on trial for the alleged murder of Salman Al-Huraisi in May 2007,

denied … that they had beaten the deceased or even took part in a raid on his house

Yahya Al-Huraisi, the attorney representing Al-Huraisi’s family, noted

[that he] explained to the judges the entire scenario of how the commission members raided the house in May, confiscated banned items, and then began beating the deceased while he was handcuffed.

The two defendants, at that point, were asked to respond to the charges. They denied any involvement, whether it was with the beating or them taking part in the raid.

This does, of course, fly in the face of the investigation of the matter by the General Investigation and Prosecution Authority (GIPA) and the Governate of Riyadh, both bodies finding the men responsible for the death of Salman Al-Huraisi. The GIPA is sort of like a Saudi version of the Crown Prosecutor.

Hopefully the judges will sort this out and come to a good judgement. Mind you, the Governorate of Riyadh mentioned that the trial was just one of three cases currently in session regarding the death of Salman Al-Huraisi.

What is certain about this case is that at the C-Men’s centre, Al-Huraisi was beaten until he stopped breathing and was the pronounced dead by a medical team several hours later.

C-Men Arrest Man for Blackmailing Women

From the 6 November issue of the Arab News, it seems that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (our by now famous buffoons also known as the C-Men or the Ministry of Licentiousness and Lasciviousness), have allegedly being doing good things. There was a report about the C-Men in Mahd-al-Dahab arresting an Arab resident who had been blackmailing a number of women to have sex with him.

According to the C-Men, the man was blackmailing his victims by threatening to post indecent photographs of them on the Internet. Apparently the C-Men found a number of photos and videos of the supposed victims at the man’s apartment.

“The man had been living here for 13 years and was abusing the local people’s goodwill. He used his knowledge of the small local community to manipulate women,” said Ayman Al-Bilahish, head of the commission’s Mahd Al-Dahab branch.

Apparently the man would also force his victims to give him money.

“An address book with his victims’ phone numbers was also found. The commission coordinated with the victims in a confidential manner to avoid them getting in trouble with their family,” said Al-Bilahish.

OK.

So, what’s wrong with all this? Well, given the negative press generated by the C-Men over recent months, at the start of a trial into the C-Men killing a suspect in Riyadh, an unsubstantiated and untraceable good news report comes from the C-Men. In addition, it happens to coincide with a story released by the C-Men some months ago where a similar blackmail scam was foiled by the C-Men.

But most of all, we only have the word of the C-Men that any of this happened and that this took place. So, truth or just trying to create some good news spin?

It’s Just Done This Way in Saudi Arabia

A local employer issued the following request, in writing, to its staff:

[complete a dependants form] to support high organizational performance by nurturing a conducive working environment, we are updating the contact details of all employees and their dependents (sic) … to enable us to reach our colleagues at any time, as [they are] needed.

Of course, the last paragraph was the clincher (remembering that the employer is supporting a “high organizational performance by nurturing a conducive working environment”):

Note: You must use the … form to update your contact and dependents’ details. Failing to do so will subject you to disciplinary action.

Yes folks, the beatings will stop when morale improves. 😕

The C-Men on Trial

The Arab News reported in an article called Al-Huraisi Murder Trial Begins at Riyadh High Court concerning the start of the trial of two members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. These people have been charged with the murder of Salman Al-Huraisi during a raid by the muttawa looking for alcohol. They raided the house that al-Huraisi and his family lived in. The raid was in May this year and this is one of three trials concerning that raid, this one being tried at the Higher Court in Riyadh. The trial started last Tuesday.

Three judges preside over the trial and it began three and a half hours late as the judges were late. The trial is closed to public and press view and only the plaintiffs’ attorney, the two suspects and their attorney were allowed in. The plaintiffs’ are represented by Yahya Al-Huraisi, who is not related. The defendants are being defended by, apparently, a private lawyer, one engaged by them and not related to the government or the Commission.

Yahya Al-Huraisi started the trial by reading the charge sheet and noting that in Islam, a human life is valued and it is forbidden to kill an innocent person. Al-Huraisi told the court that

the two commission members had broken the law during the raid by not only beating Salman to death, but by also forcefully entering the house and arresting female members for suspicion, without the presence of women officers or female representatives.

“The authorities have held these two men responsible for his (Salman’s) death and according to the private rights of the family, we have made it clear to the three judges that we want both commission members to be executed,” the attorney told Arab News after the hearing.

The charge sheet had a copy of the autopsy report – which has been kept from public view and apparently had been difficult to obtain. The autopsy revealed that Salman died as a result of constant beating to his head and body. The next scheduled hearing is set for November 6 and the defendants were remanded in custody.

A statement from the Governorate of Riyadh mentioned that

the trial was just one of three cases currently in session regarding the death of Salman Al-Huraisi. There is another case about the “abuse of authority” by the commission currently being heard in the Court of Grievances in Riyadh. Commission officers who took part in the raid will be held accountable for violations that allegedly took place during the raid.

In a lower court in Riyadh, three relatives of the deceased are being tried in connection to possession of narcotics and alcohol that was found in the house during the raid.

The Commission members who made the raid originally numbered around 18 people and they “swooped down from the roof into the house commando-style”, breaking down doors and searching for alcohol. Perhaps one of the training courses given to the C-Men in future could be titled “Astute Use of The Doorknob”.

Salman and members of his family (both male and female) were arrested and several bottles of liquor and packets of narcotics were found. People were arrested, even when living in other apartments in the building (many Saudi homes are like small compounds, with a high fence and several apartments within the fenced area – these apartments being used by other family members).

Salman was beaten until he stopped moving or breathing at the Commission Centre and was pronounced dead several hours later. The autopsy report apparently mentions that a heavy blow to his head was the cause of death. The Arab News noted:

It said part of his brain came out and one of the eyes popped out as a result of the blow.

I will keep updating this as this is perhaps the most sensational trial to make the newspapers in Saudi Arabia, certainly in the time I have been in this country. It certainly indicates to that the Saudi government has a lot to do to bring the buffoons of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice back into line with the laws they are supposed to uphold and respect.

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.

The C-Men Do Some Good

I tend to spend a fair bit of time here in Thomo’s Hole pointing out the failings and the idiocy of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (or as I prefer to think of them, the Ministry of Licentiousness and Lasciviousness – the muttawa). It seems, however, that the C-Men have actually done some good. The Arab News noted that the Virtue Commission’s Special Wing Fights Charlatans in an article today. It seems that the C-Men in Taif have

arrested 25 charlatans of both sexes following the establishment a year ago of a special anti-sorcery department in the agency’s local branch.

Fahd Al-Thubaiti, head of the department, said one of the 25 detainees was a Saudi. “People need to understand the danger of witchcraft and its negative effects on society in general. No one can be a good Muslim and believe in black magic at the same time,” he said.

OK, so more sorcery and black magic. The C-Men also noted that the centre

arrests both people that dabble in magic and also fraudsters who claim they have special skills. He said all agents of the department are qualified and have good background knowledge of religion. In addition, they take several training courses, he added.

Now I am impressed. The C-Men undertake special training courses and receive qualifications in recognising and dealing with black magic. I only hope that their interrogation techniques are better than their brethren in Riyadh. It seems, according to Al-Thubaiti, that there has been an increase in the number of witch doctors in the Kingdom due to television programs promoting magic. I am sure that the ladies from Charmed will be most impressed with the effect they have on the local population here.

What is really cute in this whole story is that the C-Men noted that it seems women are more attracted to black magic to ensure that their husbands love them and are not “playing any away games”. They also use the black magic to beget children. Well, apart from the fact that I wondered if anyone “begot” children anymore, I always thought that the act of begetting children had more to do with certain physical actions where the only Black Magic involved was a box of chocolates.

Woman Attacks Vice Cops With Pepper Spray

Following on from yesterday’s stupidity, the infamous C-Men (the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice or as I prefer to think of them, the Ministry for Lasciviousness and Licentiousness) have got in on the act. The Arab News reports two women calling them terrorists, one of them pepper spraying (“don’t spray me bro’”) whilst the other filmed it. The women’s crime? Being “dolled up”, which is a C-Men way of saying “they were wearing make-up”.

Sigh – what can I say – at least the C-Men did not beat these two to death as they have managed in their past efforts when accosting folks.

The C-Men also got into the Ramadan spirit and fun in Jeddah by banning

female shoppers from sitting in a makeshift outdoor restaurant to have their iftar meals in a low-income neighborhood in Jeddah because men were already seated at special tables set up for the fasting month

Such immorality. Such stupidity.

Ali Al-Hayyan, head of the commission’s Jeddah branch, said the agents’ actions were meant as a deterrent, “especially since some of the women were dolled up, and also to prevent the mixing of the sexes that could happen at such events and which our religion rejects,” the paper said.

This is their way of saying that the 12 million Muslims in Saudi Arabia have it right and the billion Muslims elsewhere in the world have it wrong when it comes to the mixing of sexes. What arrogance.

Of course, this is all going to make it easier to attract foreign businessmen to the Kingdom and attract investment, a stated government aim.

Read it all in the Arab News.

Stupid Place

The Family Area at Sultan Mall JeddahThis picture is from the “family” seating area in the open food court at Sultan Mall in Jeddah. “Family” means not males without female companions. As you can see in the blurry photo, there is no one there. We were asked to move from there by the idiot security at this stupid mall because it was a “family” seating area. Even the C-Men have decreed that shopping malls are OK for families and “single” men to mix.

There are no signs, no barriers, no separation. The only difference we could see was that the chairs were a different colour. Anyway, the stupid buffoons who provide security at this mall overstepped the rules and chased us out of an empty section of a food court. Idiots.

C-Men Avoid Court

I’ve mentioned the shenanigans of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Ministry of Lasciviousness and Licentiousness) here in Saudi Arabia before. I’ve mentioned the usual things, like beating suspects to death or scaring innocent men so much that they have heart attacks. However, one of their better efforts I mentioned before was in Riyadh when they abused a woman and her daughter, beating the family’s driver up and abusing the maid as well as kidnapping the women for a period of time, eventually wrecking the women’s car because, in the view of these evil men, the woman’s daughter’s eyes were not covered after coming out of an amusement arcade.

Use the search box here on Thomo’s Hole, searching “C-Men” for previous posts about these buffoons.

The woman, called Umm Faisal in the reports, has taken the Commission to court because their detention of her and her daughter for no reason has damaged her reputation.

A simple enough case you would think, except the Commission obviously sees itself above the law as they keep applying for one delay after another. They have so far delayed this case over four months. I guess they learned the last time when trying to bribe the family of the man beaten to death that many people have had enough of these foolish men. See the Arab News for the latest report.

Ramadan Again

It’s Ramadan here again. Apart from being a blessed period of fasting and renewal for the Muslims, it also signifies a year here for me.

This time, though, I am out of here for the Eid holiday – unlike last year when I spent 9 days bored living in a hotel room playing computer games.

One year here – sigh 😥