New rules outline powers of Haia (Saudi Gazette, 30/01/2013)

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) will no longer have the powers to interrogate those who have been taken into custody or take penal action against them.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, head of the Commission, said that the new rules and regulations approved by the Council of Ministers Monday maintain powers of the judicial authorities to take punitive measures. The Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution also retains the power to interrogate suspects and all other procedures in this regard.

« The regulations clearly specify the powers of the Commission in discharging its duties and not allowing interference in the powers of other agencies, » he said, emphasizing its freedom in exercising its powers and preserving its entity, the Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday.

Sheikh Abdullatif said the Commission can still arrest those carrying out flagrant offenses. However, the cases of such people will be referred to the police and brought to justice, as the Haia will no longer have the right to determine charges against them, he said.

The Commission will constitute a team of experts to prepare a bylaw to implement the new regulations and will then submit to the Cabinet for approval. The new regulations were praised by Commission officials.
The Haia chief also thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, for approving the new regulations.

« These regulations would reinforce the Commission in discharging its duties and playing a vital role in serving the religion and society. These regulations are the outcome of the works of several specialized committees with the involvement of the Commission and the concerned agencies, » he said, adding that they specifically point out the procedures to be followed with regard to preventive detention and criminal detention.

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