Bahrain jails man for burning Israeli flag at pro-Palestine demonstration

Bahrain jails man for burning Israeli flag at pro-Palestine demonstration
A Bahraini man is facing what is thought to be the first criminal punishment for burning an Israeli flag in the Arab world.
2 min read
18 February, 2020
Palestinian protesters burn Israeli flags during a demonstration against Trump's peace deal in Gaza [Getty]
A Bahraini appeals court has upheld a three-year prison sentence given to a man who burned an Israeli flag at a protest supporting the Palestinian cause, local media reported on Friday.

Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Court of Appeal rejected the man's case, reinstating his conviction for organising an illegal gathering and rioting, saying the man "intended to endanger people's lives and properties, to destabilise public security and to disrupt traffic".

The case is thought to be the first instance of its kind in the Arab world, prompting a wave of outrage on social media.

Prominent Bahraini journalist Adel Marzooq tweeted: "This is the first time Bahrain is punishing citizens for burning the Israeli flag. It is striking that it is the same punishment prescribed in the Israeli Penal Law (three years imprisonment)."

Comment: Why are Israelis so afraid of this female Arab lawmaker?

Bahrain does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, however signs of normalisation have emerged in recent months.

Most notably, Bahrain has publicly supported and encouraged US President Donald Trump's peace plan for Israel-Palestine.

The so-called Deal of the Century has been unanimously rejected by Palestinians and many in the international community due to its obvious bias towards Israeli demands.

The Gulf kingdom hosted the July 2019 conference introducing the economic side of the plan, attended by many wealthy Gulf Arab and Israeli business figures.

Jared Kushner - Trump's son-in-law and architect of the Deal of the Century - dangled an offer of $50 billion investment for the region if the Palestinians agreed to the proposed political agreement.

Bahrain's ambassador to Washington was also present at Trump's announcement of the political side of the plan last month, alongside envoys from UAE and Oman.

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