Second man dies in Saudi religious police car chase

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The second Saudi man who was wounded in a road accident resulting from a car chase by members of the kingdom’s religious police last week has died, Saudi media reported on Tuesday.

The al-Hayat daily reported that Saud Algoos, who was being treated for head injuries, body fractures and wounds, died when his heart stopped.


His brother Nasser Algoos, 24, lost his life earlier after their vehicle overturned when they were chased by the country’s religious police in the capital Riyadh.

Saud worked as a member of the Saudi police in Riyadh, according to al-Riyadh daily newspaper.

“Doctors had informed us that he was brain dead, but we did not give hope to treat him and we tried to move him to other specialized medical centers. Doctors asked us, however, to keep him in the same hospital until his situation is a bit stable, but it was to Allah’s will that he died today,” his third brother, Saad, told al-Riyadh.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al Sheikh, the head of the Saudi religious police, admitted on Sunday that members of his authority were involved in the deadly car chase.

“The truth is that the pursuit took place, and I have immediately issued a decision [and] condemned the incident,” Sheikh said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

Sheikh added that the incident is currently under investigation.

“Upon the issuance of the results, everyone will take his/her right according to the law,” Sheikh added.

But Veteran Saudi journalist, Omar el-Madhawi, said that admitting mistakes is not enough and that action is needed.

“The judicial authorities have never taken action to prevent the mistakes and crimes committed by the religious police force. The law is always on their side,” he told Al Arabiya News.

The news of the crash stirred uproar on social media, especially after it became known that the involved members of the Saudi religious police fled the scene of the accident.

A witness uploaded a video of the car chase on his Twitter account with the hashtag: “The_religious_police_killed_two_men_on_National_Day.”

Reactions appeared to be tense but divided between those who supported the religious authority, commonly known as the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, and those opposed it.

The authority is also referred to in Arabic simply as “the Haia” meaning “the committee.”

One Twittter user @Nejer wrote: “The Haia’s situation is similar to many government entities in Saudi; they all need restructuring and fixing.”

@GhaidaAbdulaziz posted a comment saying “There’s no sound evidence, and I feel that it’s a hoax so I urge you all to stop destroying the Haia’s image.”

The religious police in Saudi Arabia are tasked with enforcing Sharia (Islamic law) as defined in Saudi Arabia. In addition to having the power to arrest anyone engaged in homosexual acts, prostitution, fornication, or proselytizing of non-Muslim religions, they can also arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing, enforce Islamic dress-codes, Muslim dietary laws (such as the prohibition of eating pork) and store closures during prayer times.

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