Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

New Law Curtails CPVPV’s Powers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat-Saudi Arabia passed a new law Monday curtailing the powers of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). Dr. Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh, CPVPV President, informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the new law will develop the organization’s mechanism. He denied claims that these changes have made the organization obsolete, stressing that they will improve its operations.

Al-Sheikh emphasized that the changes will advance and improve CPVPV agents work, confirming that some of the powers previously held by the organization have now been transferred to the competent authorities.

Al-Sheikh said, “In the past, the CPVPV agents’ would carry out legal proceedings against suspects, however the new system will transfer investigation of suspects to the Bureau of Investigations and the General Prosecution”, adding that the transfer of these powers to the competent authorities will ensure justice and equality.

He emphasized that while the CPVPV retains the power to detain suspects, these suspects must then be transferred directly to police stations to complete legal proceedings against them.

He also asserted that the new system only allows CPVPV agents to investigate and arrest suspects involved with “flagrant offenses”. The CPVPV may still arrest those carrying out offenses such as harassing women, consuming alcohol and drugs, blackmailing, and the practice of witchcraft.

Dr. Al-Sheikh told Asharq Al-Awsat that the new system will also clamp down on improper practices by CPVPV agents in the field, ensuring that they carry out their legitimate duties to the fullest extent. He described these changes as a “cultural shift” in the organization’s operation, stressing that they will allow the organization to better serve Islam and the citizens of Saudi Arabia in a civilized and disciplined manner.

Commenting on the cabinet’s decision in this regard, the CPVPV president asserted that this comes in the context of supporting the organization’s leadership and allowing it to carry out its vital role of serving religion and society. He added that these charges were taken following studies conducted by a number of special committees and coordination with the CPVPV presidency itself.

Al-Sheikh said, “The new system aims to strengthen the procedures and mission of the CPVPV and facilitate its operations, harmonizing this with the criminal procedure code, which is the official reference for the organization.” The CPVPV president also emphasized that the organization will not get involved in cases outside of its jurisdiction. He confirmed that the CPVPV will remain an independent organization, reporting to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz.

He stressed that the CPVPV will abide by the judiciary’s right to issue judicial judgments, as well as the Bureau of Investigations and the General Prosecution’s right to fully question and investigate suspects.

Al-Sheikh also revealed that the CPVPV presidency had formed a panel of experts to study draft regulations with the objective of raising this to the cabinet, adding that this panel met with senior CPVPV presidency officials and agents. He asserted that the panel’s task was to develop and improve the CPVPV’s operations within an institutional framework.