Flag-trampling SA man on bail

2005-01-11 07:19

Buenos Aires - A Briton, an Australian and a South African arrested and jailed for trampling a flag flying outside an Argentine Falklands war veterans' bar were released on bail, officials said on Monday.

David Fleming, 20, Benjamin Sargent, 28, and Darren Redden, 28, were arrested on January 6 in Ushuaia, the most southerly city in Argentina, and held on federal charges of desecrating the national flag.

The trio had been drinking at a wine bar owned by Pablo Vina - who fought in the 1982 war when Britain ejected an Argentine force that invaded the remote South Atlantic islands - when they noticed the flag flying outside.

The tourists opened a window to tear the flag down, then walked outside, trampled it and threw it in a waste bin, witnesses said.

On Monday, a federal court released Fleming, a Briton, Sargent, an Australian, and Redden, from South Africa, on $3 500 bail each.

A court judge warned them however to not leave Argentina until their case was resolved.

The federal crime of "desecration to the national flag" carries a penalty of up to four years in prison.

Ushuaia, the closest city to the islands known as the Falklands to the British and the Malvinas to Argentines, is a major draw for backpackers from around the world.

Read more on:    argentina  |  falkland islands

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