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Saudi Islamic police under fire over girl chase

Saudi Arabia’s main human rights group attacked the Gulf Kingdom’s feared Islamic police for chasing a girl in the middle of the streets, wreaking havoc on he busy roads of the capital, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Alwatan Arabic language daily said the girl was later captured by members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice after an exciting chase in the streets of Riyadh on Sunday.

It quoted Commission sources as saying its members chased the girl and seized her after public complaints that she had done what they described as obscene acts in a public place along with some boys. It said the sources refused to give other details until after the interrogation of the unnamed girl is completed.

“What these men did to the girl is a reckless act that threatened people’s lives on the roads,” the paper quoted a source from the Saudi National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) as saying.

“This behavior is a flagrant violation of the rules and of the Commission’s policy of carrying out its duties without encroaching or harming the rights of others…this irresponsible behavior confirms the negative impression of the Commission.”

In a statement carried by local newspapers, NCHR and other local groups urged the Commission to investigate the incident and punish those responsible.

In their report on the chase on Monday, Saudi newspapers said three Commission members pushed their four-wheel car on the pavement and headed in the wrong direction of a busy road before they got off the vehicle and chased the woman on foot through the streets of Riyadh.

 “Hundreds of people stopped to watch the chase of the unknown woman, who was bare-footed…..the Commission members caused chaos on the roads by chasing the unknown woman,” it said.

 

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