Middle East

Saudi killed in religious police chase: report

Saudi policemen inspect the destruction under a bridge where a gas tanker truck exploded on a main road in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 1, 2012. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE

RIYADH: A Saudi motorist died and a passenger was injured on Tuesday when a religious police vehicle crashed into their car during a hot pursuit in Riyadh, a newspaper reported.

A patrol of the notorious police, known unofficially as Mutawaa, chased two young men travelling in a sedan before crashing into their vehicle, forcing it off an overpass and onto a lower-level road, Al-Hayat daily said.

The patrol vehicle fled the scene instantly, the daily said.

"We pray to Allah to forgive the dead," said Mohammed al-Shraimi, assistant spokesman of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the official name of the Mutawaa.

"Concerned bodies" are investigating the incident, Al-Hayat cited him as saying.

The ultra-conservative kingdom this year set new limitations on the commission, saying the Mutawaa would no longer interrogate suspects or press charges, but must instead refer cases to the regular police.

But religious police continue to prevent women from driving, enforce a ban on public entertainment and force all businesses, from supermarkets to petrol stations, to close for prayers five times a day.





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