A university student in Scotland lost his appeal of a racism conviction for insulting a fellow student’s Israeli flag.
On Tuesday, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh turned down Paul Donnachie, 19, in a bid to have his conviction overturned. Donnachie had been sentenced last August to 150 hours of community service and was expelled from St. Andrews University.
Donnachie in March 2011 told Chanan Reitblat, an exchange student from Yeshiva University in New York, that Israel was a terrorist state and the flag was a terrorist symbol. He then put his hands down his pants and rubbed them on the small flag hanging on the wall, the BBC reported. He also called Reitblat a terrorist.
The flag had been a gift to Reitblat from his brother, an Israeli soldier.
“This is a ridiculous conviction,” Donnachie said at the time of his conviction, according to the BBC. “I’m a member of anti-racism campaigns, and I am devastated that as someone who has fought against racism I have been tarnished in this way.”
A second student, Samuel Colchester, 20, was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. He was suspended from the university for one year.