Bahrain jails protester for flag insult

The details of the charge leveled against the man on Thursday were not clear, but prosecutors said the move is regarded as an insult under the new codes of law.

National flags are carried and waved during anti-regime marches in Bahrain.

In April, Bahrain introduced tougher penalties for insulting the Persian Gulf kingdom’s ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and national symbols. The measures are apparently meant to suppress more than two years of pro-democracy protests.

On Wednesday, a court in Bahrain sentenced six tweeters to one year in jail on charges of insulting the country’s monarch.

The Bahraini public prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the six had been charged and convicted by a lower criminal court for “misusing the right of free expression.”

The statement added that the tweeters were accused of posting remarks “undermining the values and traditions of Bahrain’s society towards the king on Twitter.”

The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011, when the people, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt, started holding massive demonstrations.

The Bahraini government promptly launched a brutal crackdown on the peaceful protests and called in Saudi-led Arab forces from neighboring states.

Dozens of people have been killed in the crackdown, and the security forces have arrested hundreds, including doctors and nurses accused of treating injured revolutionaries.

A report published by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry in November 2011 found that the Al Khalifa regime had used excessive force in the crackdown and accused Manama of torturing political activists, politicians, and protesters.

Bahrainis say they will continue holding demonstrations until their demand for the establishment of a democratically elected government is met.


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