Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 17:23 pm (KSA) 14:23 pm (GMT)

Saudi religious police car chases end in crashes

Two seperate chases resulted in crashes
Two seperate chases resulted in crashes

High speed chases, car crashes and illicit escapades may sound like a Hollywood movie, but citizens in Saudi Arabia were anything but amused by the antics of some overly enthusiastic officers from the religious police in recent days.

Officers from the from the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice gained attention in recent days for their attempts to crackdown on "illicit privacy," a term that refers to the prohibition against an unrelated man and woman being alone together.

A car chase in the capital Riyadh by officers who suspected a couple of “illicit privacy” ended in a crash that damaged several vehicles. The chase ended when the man’s car hit a fence and four cars, according to eye-witness reports.

Officers arrested the woman after brutally beating the man and taking his identity card, the paper reported. The owners of the cars involved said they would ask the Commission for compensation for the damage.

The actions of the officers violated the Commission's rules against car chases. Commission Deputy Chief Sheikh Ibrahim al-Howaimel vowed to penalize the officers, the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported on Tuesday.

In Medina, Commission officers chased a man and his wife for alleged “illicit privacy,” resulting in a dual car pileup.

The man’s brothers got in a brawl with police and the wife's brother, who tried to assault the Commission officers, was interrogated and released on bail.

The wife said she was the one who asked her husband not to stop because there was nothing to prove that the vehicle belonged to the Commission, and that is why she and her husband were scared and ran away.

Head of the Commission office in Medina Dr. Abdullah al-Zahrani said the officers were suspicious of the couple's behavior and asked the man to stop, but he refused. When the officers managed to stop him the woman he was with ran away and the man's wife took her place.

The couple denied the accusations and the husband said he will seek compensation for slander.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

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