February 6, 2014
The king of Bahrain has approved a law imposing a jail sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to 10,000 dinars ($26,500) for anyone who publicly insults him.
King Hamad’s measure highlights the sensitivity of Bahrain and other Gulf Arab states to criticism of senior officials and ruling family members as well as to political dissent. Courts in Kuwait and Qatar have imposed jail terms on several nationals for insulting their rulers in past years.
The new law, reported by the state Bahrain News Agency on Tuesday, says the penalties apply to “whoever has insulted, in any kind of public manner, the king of Bahrain, or its flag, or its national emblem”.