Published On: Mon, Feb 17th, 2020

Arabic press review: Bahraini who burned Israeli flag jailed for three years

Arabic press review: Bahraini who burned Israeli flag jailed for three years

The raising of fuel prices in Saudi Arabia sparks popular anger and Yemen’s government agrees to a prisoner exchange with Houthis

Mohammad Ayesh Mon, 02/17/2020 – 14:45

A Bahraini who set fire to an Israeli flag, as seen here in Lebanon in October 2019, was jailed after his appeal was rejected (AFP)

Bahraini appeal over flag burning rejected

A Bahraini man who burned an Israeli flag during a pro-Palestine protest was jailed for three years, Al-Bilad reported.

The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bahrain rejected an appeal lodged by the Bahraini man, who was convicted of organising an illegal gathering and rioting. 

The court upheld the three-year sentence, and said the man “intended to endanger people’s lives and properties, to destabilise 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.

A well-known Bahraini journalist tweeted: “It is the first time that Bahrain punishes citizens for burning the Israeli flag. It is striking that it is the same punishment prescribed in the Israeli Penal Law (3 years imprisonment).”

Bahrain, like other Gulf countries, has no official diplomatic relations with Israel. However, visits by Israeli officials to Bahrain and reports of ongoing talks suggest improved ties between Tel Aviv and several Gulf countries. 

Saudi Arabia fuel price rise sparks popular anger

A decision by Saudi state oil company Aramco to raise fuel prices has sparked widespread anger on social media, according to a report in the New Khaleej.

Twitter users said the fuel price rises were “unacceptable” as global oil prices continue to fall. Some justified the anger towards the price rises as commodity prices are set to rise with the introduction of VAT across the Gulf kingdom. 

Aramco said in a statement that the monthly price hikes will be announced on the tenth day of every month, while the application of the new regulations will be on the morning of the 11th day, in accordance with procedures for pricing adjustment of energy and water products.

Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer worldwide, as it produces about 10m barrels of crude oil per day. Fuel prices, however, remain low in Saudi Arabia compared to neighbouring countries. 

Yemeni prisoner swap deal agreed in Jordan

The Yemeni government has reached an agreement with the Houthi movement in Jordan and agreed to exchange prisoners and detainees, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

The Saudi-backed newspaper quoted Yemeni and UN sources and said the agreement came after a week of consultations. 

Maged Fadail, deputy minister of human rights in the Yemeni government and member of the government negotiating team, stated that “the interim agreement would eventually lead to the release of all detainees in exchange for the other party’s prisoners”.

The Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement praising the efforts of the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, tasked with reaching an agreement to release the prisoners.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye

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