Saudi’s Haia members to appeal verdict on Riyadh mall attack

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Four members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), who were disciplined and demoted over an attack on a British man and his Saudi wife, have said they will appeal the verdict of the internal investigations and the subsequent disciplinary action taken against them.

The British man, Peter Howarth-Lees and his Saudi wife, Abeer, were attacked by members of Haia outside a mall in Riyadh.

An investigation carried out by senior members of Haia in Riyadh found that the four members tried to mislead the investigation committee and lied while giving their testimony.

The Haia members concerned were transferred outside Riyadh for their involvement in the attack and have been reassigned to administrative jobs.

However, the Saudi Gazette, quoting the Makkah Daily, reported that the four have refused to accept the disciplinary measures taken against them, which had come directly from the organisation’s chairman Abdullatif Al Asheikh, and now intend to appeal the sanctions to the Board of Grievances.

One of the men, speaking to Makkah Daily, said: “We totally reject the decision. We will appeal and ask for the case to be referred to the Shariah courts.”

The four members said they were surprised at how quickly their appeal letter had been leaked to social media.

They say that during the incident they were defending themselves against Mr Howarth-Lees, whom they say was attacking them.

“The British man refused to show us his identity papers. He also refused to show them to the police patrol, which had to withdraw after that,” the unidentified Haia member told Makkah Daily.

A lawyer told Saudi Gazette that the Haia should have opened the case against them through the general attorney, instead of taking internal disciplinary measures against its four members.

“The Haia should have observed the rules of the civil service. If there is a misuse of power, it will be the British man and his wife who will take their case to the CIB (Control and Investigation Bureau),” Mohammed Al Sinaidi said.

 

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