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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 January 2019

Two Jordanian journalists face prison for offensive image of Jesus and Salt Bae

Jordanian churches call for leniency after Al Wakeel News faces backlash for doctored Last Supper image

Salt Bae has a chain of restaurants all over the world including in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. YouTube
Salt Bae has a chain of restaurants all over the world including in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. YouTube

Two Jordanian journalists could be sent to prison for three years for publishing an image of Salt Bae standing behind Jesus in a rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

The two journalists were released on bail on Wednesday but face possible prison sentences over the publication of an "offensive" image, a judicial source said.

They face a charge of inciting sectarian strife, which carries a prison term of six months to three years.

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The Last Supper depicts Jesus's final meal with his disciples before his crucifixion. In the retouched version, Turkish butcher and chef Salt Bae (real name Nusret Gokce), who has restaurants all over the world including in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is seen performing his trademark salt sprinkle on a platter of meat in front of Jesus.

One of the disciples also has Jesus's face tattooed on his leg.

"The prosecutor general of Amman has given his approval today for the release on bail of the journalist Mohammed Al Wakeel" who runs the Al Wakeel News website which published the image, the source said.

Trainee editor Ghadir Rbehat was also bailed.

The bail decision follows a request by three politicians, while the Council of Churches of Jordan also requested "a pardon and compassion from the prosecutor," the source said.

More than 200 complaints were filed by Jordanians across the country against Al Wakeel News over the past three days, the source added.

The publication of the doctored image sparked an online outcry which prompted Al Wakeel News to remove it and apologise, saying it was an unintended "mistake" by a trainee editor.

Christians make up around six per cent of Jordan's population of 9.7 million.

Updated: December 13, 2018 08:02 PM

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