PEOPLE found guilty of inciting hatred against Bahrain's security forces could soon face up to 20 years in jail.
The Shura Council yesterday approved urgent amendments to the Penal Code that will now be sent to His Majesty King Hamad for ratification.
The bill covers inciting hatred against the police, National Security Agency (NSA), National Guards and BDF personnel.
The existing maximum sentence for the offence is three years.
Military Courts director Colonel Dr Yousif Flaifil said an amendment added by Parliament would give judges the scope to punish people "even if incitement doesn't cause any harm".
"The new amendments are clear as they state related crimes to incitement like murder, kidnap and holding hostage, which were previously dealt with as separate crimes, with those behind them being spared punishment.
"Parliament's addition to the Penal Code is all what we need to provide security personnel with the necessary legal protection."
Council Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee Vice-chairperson Nancy Khadoury welcomed the tougher punishments.
"Targeting security personnel physically is just currently punishable, but having incitement regarded as an equal offence even if no harm is caused will certainly give judges the power they need to address incitement cases more seriously," she said.
The National Assembly last month approved another bill, which was later ratified into law by His Majesty, to ramp up punishments for people who attack Bahrain's security forces.
They include life sentences for anyone who kills a member of the security services, even if the death is unintentional.
Those who intentionally cause permanent disability to members of the security apparatus also face a minimum jail sentence of 10 years.
If the attack unintentionally caused permanent disability the culprit could face a minimum seven-year jail sentence.
Anyone involved in attacks on police could be jailed for up to 10 years, even if no injuries are sustained.
Under Bahraini law, deliberate killings already carry the maximum sentence of death.