Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law that would, if passed, make it illegal to publicly insult the GCC flag, QNA reports.
Taking down, damaging or taking any action that expresses hatred or contempt of a flag of an international organization or institution, or the flag of any other regional organization or institution would also become a punishable offense.
The legislation modifies criminal Law No. 11 of 2004.
According to article 14 of that law, it is already illegal to publicly insult Qatar’s flag or a flag of a “non-hostile country,” with the penalty being a prison term of up to three years or a fine of up to QR15,000.
In recent years, Qatar’s government has taken several steps to ensure its national flag be treated with respect.
Under that law, it became punishable to use the flag as a commercial trademark and in advertisements without formal permission from authorities; to display a damaged or discolored flag; or to change the flag or add photographs, text or designs to it.
Violators could face six months to three years in jail or a QR100,000 to QR200,000 fine.
The Cabinet also moved to add a new provision to the penal code that would make it punishable to claim to practice “quackery,” or witchcraft.
QNA reports that the practice, whether for free or for a fee, is punishable if people claim to do it to help others know the unseen, achieve a need or desire or prevent damage or inflict harm.
Other provisions in the new draft law would make it punishable to:
- Collect donations personally or via individuals, newspapers or companies or other means in a non-authorized capacity; and
- For a public servant to use his/her power to block the implementation of a ruling or order issued by a court or the attorney general 30 days after the date of being officially notified about implementation.
The term lengths of the punishments were not specified, and the amendments would still need the Emir’s approval before becoming law.