RIYADH - The deaths of two sisters, shot by their brother as they left a women's shelter, are being blamed on Saudi Arabia's religious police.
The sisters, aged 19 and 21, had been arrested by the government's religious police and placed in a women's shelter.
Wajeha Huweidar, a women's rights activist in Saudi Arabia, told The Media Line that these "honor killings," which occur everyday in her country, are usually reported as suicides or accidents.
"This case is shocking," Huwidar said, "because it didn't occur behind doors. It happened in a public place and was published in the local newspapers," she said.
"I think the religious police had a big role in this crime and in many other crimes," Huweidar said.
"When a woman gets arrested for mingling with a male non-relative, that means her life is ended. She gets to go to a prison or women's shelter and her family will not come to pick her up. The Saudi male guardianship system doesn't allow women to be released without the presence of their male guardian," she explained.
The people of Saudia Arabia are subject to Sharia law, which sanctions such punishment as flogging, stoning, amputation, beheading and execution, the justification for honor killing, which ended the lives of these two sisters.
Sources: The Media Line, The Jerusalem Post