The head of the Saudi religious police, Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, was pictured on Sunday consoling the father of a man who was involved in a car chase with members of his police force.
Saudi-daily al-Watan reported that Sheikh attended the funeral of the man and told the family that he will not interfere in investigations, even if the religious police members involved in the incident were convicted.
Attendees of the funeral reportedly asked Sheikh the reason for his visit, he replied that "he was here to fulfill his duty."
Nasser al-Otaibi, 24, died in a crash following a car chase by the country’s religious police earlier this week. His brother Saud, 22, was taken to intensive care with serious injuries and is said to be still in a coma, Saudi Gazette reported on Sunday.
Sheikh was pictured kissing the forehead of Nasser's father.
The death has prompted nationwide anger after it became known that the involved members of the Saudi religious police fled the scene of the accident.
The two police members reportedly fled the scene but were later arrested and are being investigated.
The family of the victims have made a plea for justice, saying the men were “innocent,” their brother told the Saudi Gazette.
He said that the car chase was because his brothers’ car had its windows tinted.
The pair was afraid that a violation would be registered against them or that they would be treated harshly, which is why they sped away when the police men asked them to pull up, he added.
Another brother of the victims told the al-Hayat Arabic daily that the family is demanding the death penalty for those responsible.
Th religious authority is also referred to in Arabic simply as “the Haia” meaning “the committee.”
Assistant spokesman for the Haia, Mohammad al-Sheraimi, said investigations are under way and all those responsible for the accident and the subsequent death of the Saudi will be held accountable, the Saudi Gazette reported.
An eyewitness, Mohammad al-Sahabi, said the Haia vehicle deliberately bumped into the small car from behind.
The vehicle swerved off the road, fell off a bridge, and overturned, while the Haia pursuers fled from the scene, Sahabi said.