Bahraini man sentenced to prison for burning Israeli flag

Bahraini Supreme Court rejects appeal of man who burned an Israeli flag during protest, upholds three-year prison sentence.

Elad Benari ,

Israeli flag
Israeli flag

A Bahraini man who burned an Israeli flag during a pro-Palestinian Arab protest has been jailed for three years, Middle East Eye reported on Monday, citing the Bahraini newspaper Al-Bilad.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bahrain rejected an appeal lodged by the man, who was convicted of organizing an illegal gathering and rioting, according to the report.

The court upheld the three-year sentence, and said the man "intended to endanger people's lives and properties, to destabilize public security and to disrupt traffic".

The verdict sparked a wave of indignation among Twitter users, who claimed that it was the first time in the history of the Arab world that a person had been punished for burning the Israeli flag.

Bahrain, like other Arab countries, has no official diplomatic relations with Israel, though there have been reports in recent years of improved ties between the Jewish state and several Gulf countries.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz recently held a first public meeting with Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa during a visit to Washington.

Al Khalifa said in an interview on Israeli television several months ago that “Israel is historically part of the heritage of this whole region. So the Jewish people have a place amongst us.”

Later, however, he reaffirmed his country’s support for the Palestinian people’s right to an independent Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.