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Seven years in jail for insults

PEOPLE who insult His Majesty King Hamad could face up to seven years in prison or fines up to BD10,000.

It comes as the Shura Council yesterday approved parliament amendments to the Penal Code.

The changes fix a minimum sentence of 12 months and fine of BD1,000 for the offence, with the same punishment for anyone who insults Bahrain's flag or emblem.

The proposal was made originally by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ghanim Al Buainain during his tenure as an MP last year.

The punishment could also be doubled if the insults happen in the presence of His Majesty.

The new bill, which has been already given the go ahead by the government, will be now ratified by His Majesty.

"The legislation has come at the right time and despite it being delayed, bringing it now has great significance on how some may act or react," said council's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee secretary Abdulrahman Jamsheer.

"The King has been subject to several insults during gatherings and social media despite being the country's main symbol.

"Insulting The King weakens the state and the rule of law and encourages chaos and disdain.

"The current law doesn't properly punish insults to the country's three symbols and for that coming up with a precise article and inserting it in the Penal Code will certainly mean a lot for this country's image."

There have been several incidents since Bahrain's political unrest began in February 2011, in which His Majesty was insulted in speeches and his photographs defaced. mohammed@gdn.com.bh



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