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Bahrain MPs vote to ban pork

Manama, May 22, 2013

Bahrain's MPs have voted to ban pork as part of new amendments to the law, some of which have Islamist overtones, according to a report.

They approved amendments to the Penal Code that include criminalising the sale, import, export, production and possession of all pork products yesterday, said the report published in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister newspaper.

They also include tougher penalties for gambling, being drunk in public and sodomy - the last of which could attract a jail term of up to five years.

Anyone who defied the pork ban would face up to two months in jail or a fine of up to BD300 ($791), or both.

However, the amendments will now go to the Shura Council for review after the summer recess - meaning pork is still legal in Bahrain.

Under the amendment proposed by MPs, only products containing pork authorised for medical use would be excluded from the ban.

Of the 29 MPs present, 24 voted in favour of the amendments, none voted against them and five abstained.

The vote was passed despite opposition to the pork ban, with a Bahraini banker previously telling the GDN that he feared it was the first step towards "full Islamisation".

Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) food and agriculture committee chairman Ebrahim Al Daisi, who is also against pork ban, earlier accused MPs of trying to force their will on the public, if they approved the measure.

Other amendments

Other amendments to the Penal Code approved yesterday include three-month jail sentences or fines of up to BD300, or both, for anyone caught gambling.

If the offence was repeated within 12 months, the sentence would be up to a year in jail or a fine of BD500, or both.

Offering gambling would be punished with up to six months in jail or a fine of up to BD500, or both, and if repeated within 12 months the sentence would be no less than a year in jail or a fine of no less than BD1,000, or both.

The outlet used for gambling would be closed and all equipment and money confiscated, although it could be reopened based on assurances that it would stick to its Commercial Registration.

Meanwhile, anyone found supplying those under 18 with alcohol would face up to a year in jail or a fine of no less than BD500, or both.

Those found drunk in public places or cause disruption while drunk would be sentenced to up to three months in jail or fined up to BD300, or both.

If the offence is repeated, the punishment would be no less than three months or a fine of between BD200 and BD1,000, or both.

Prostitution, sodomy and adultery could be punished with up to five years in jail for those aged over 21.

Meanwhile, those who publicly say, shout or speak profanity or send messages or broadcasts through any means could be jailed for up to two years or fined up to BD200, or both.

Rape would carry a sentence of no less than seven years in jail and if the victim is aged below 16, the jail term could be no less than 10 years.Consensual sex with someone below the age of 16 will also be considered rape.

Those who encouraged prostitution would be jailed for up to a year, and if the person encouraged was under 18, the sentence would be no less than five years in jail. Encouraging prostitution in public places could carry up to two years in jail or a fine not exceeding BD1,000, or both. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Shura Council | MP | Penal Code | Pork ban |

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