A Bahrain court sentenced a man who participated in a pro-Palestinian demonstration to a three-year prison sentence on charges of rioting and burning an Israeli flag, Bahrain media outlets reported on Saturday.
The defendant tried to appeal to Bahrain’s Supreme Court of Appeal, claiming that his actions were a result of the incitement of another person who was already convicted but the court refused to hear his petition.
Last May, the defendant and 10 others rioted and blocked the road leading into the village of Abu Saiba by lighting a fire in the road and then using the flames to burn an Israeli flag.
The defendant was also charged with organizing an illegal gathering. The prosecution emphasized that the defendant had deliberately intended to disrupt the peace in a public area, endanger lives and properties and disrupt traffic and used violence for those purposes.
Bahrainis expressed outrage on social media, decrying the defendant’s sentence and saying it was the first time in Arab history that someone was penalized for burning an Israeli flag. Bahraini social media users accused government officials of trying to appease Israel on the background of warming ties between Israel and the wealthy Persian Gulf country.
In July 2019, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz held a public meeting, the first of its kind, with Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa in Washington D.C., which was coordinated by US State Department officials.
Yet another sign of this coming true is that this week Israeli FM @Israel_katz & Bahrain’s FM & my dear friend @khalidalkhalifa met this week in Washington and took this photo. We’re living in remarkable times! Read more in @Jerusalem_Post https://t.co/ZDbcQyROnA (2/2) pic.twitter.com/SuornlYKx4
— Rabbi Marc Schneier (@RabbiMSchneier) July 19, 2019
In a rare visit, a senior Israeli official, Dana Benvenisti-Gabay, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s counter-terrorism department, attended a maritime and aviation security conference in Bahrain in October 2019.
Two months later, in another rare visit to the country, Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Harav Shlomo Amar, visited Bahrain to attend an interfaith event, at which he met the Bahraini king, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and religious leaders from around the world.
תחת אבטחה ובתיאום גורמים מדיניים בישראל, הראשל"צ הגאון רבי שלמה משה עמאר ביקר בכנס ראשי דתות בבחריין. pic.twitter.com/KLtdjvmjMp
— ישי כהן (@ishaycoen) December 9, 2019
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)