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MENAFN - Arab News - 04/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Arab News) President of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) said that the commission's field personnel will soon be banned from standing in front of mall gates and their duties will be limited to Shariah violations and acts that annoy shoppers.
Haia field staff in some regions recently prevented individual males (without their women relatives) from entering malls, which contradicts regulations that allow them entry and shopping. "No Haia member is entitled to prevent anyone from entering malls," Abdullatif Al-Asheikh was quoted as saying by an Arabic newspaper.

He said a new soon-to-be-issued regulation will specify rules for the work of Haia's field officials. That entails curtailing some of their powers. The officials will no longer be able to carry out raids wihtout with the official approval of the governor. They also will not be able to arrest, detain and interrogate people and attend trials at courts.

These powers will be given to other bodies such as the police and the anti-corruption commission.

He said mistakes on behalf of field officials have largely been reduced. "Our work now is more organized and field personnel are working as per directives and regulations. They had attended training courses and are constantly under supervision," the Haia chief said.

"In the past, complaints were filed daily. In the pst three months, we have received only three. These cases are referred to the commission's investigation and legal departments and we have punished members of staff for violating regulations and issued directives on the necessity of putting them in place," he said.

The Haia president also expressed the commission's indignation at physical attacks on its field staff. "There have been serious cases of attacks against Haia staff and we will follow up with these cases until a sanction is issued against them."

The relationship between the Haia and society has improved. Haia's work is welcomed by some members of society. "We recognize this good relationship through fieldwork," he said.


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