Probe implicates Saudi religious police in death

In a new blow to Saudi Arabia's powerful religious police, a member of the force has been implicated in the death of a man whose house was raided because he was suspected of possessing and consuming alcohol, an official statement said Wednesday. The accusation leveled against the unnamed agent of the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which employs the religious police, is the second such charge of police brutality targeting the governmental body. The commission is charged with enforcing the kingdom's strict Islamic lifestyle. Last Saturday, a judge postponed the trial of three commission members allegedly involved in the death in custody of Ahmed al-Bulaiwi, a retired border patrol guard in his early 50s. Al-Bulaiwi died shortly after his June 1 arrest in the northern town of Tabuk for being alone with a woman who was not a relative - an act considered an offense in the kingdom. No date has been set for the new trial.