x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Man faces jail for defiling UAE flag

A man could face up to five years' imprisonment after kicking and stomping on a UAE flag, officials say.

ABU DHABI // A man accused of defiling the UAE flag faces up to five years in prison.

A traffic policeman told the State Security Court yesterday that he had seen AA kicking and stomping on the flag near Al Jazira Sports Club.

"I stopped and said, 'Come back, what are you doing?'" said the policeman, AM.

AA replied that he did not know the piece of cloth was the country's flag.

AM arrested AA and took him for questioning.

"His friend came to the prosecution and said [AA] was new in the UAE and did not know anything in the country," AM said.

The judge asked AM if the man appeared to be in a "normal state", he replied yes.

"What is your analysis of why he was stepping on and kicking the flag? Do you think he meant insult?" the judge asked.

AM said he did not know.

AA, an Indian national whose age was not given, is free on bail. A verdict is expected next Monday.

Article 176 of the federal penal code prescribes sentences of up to five years in jail for anyone who publicly insults the President, the UAE flag or its national emblem.