Man who insulted Islam on social media has sentence reduced

A file photo of Alister in court.

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By Dorcas Ting

KUCHING, Sept 13: The High Court today slashed four years off the jail term handed down to a 22-year-old youth with learning disabilities for insulting Islam on social media.

Alister Cogia was originally sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and fined RM50,000 for committing 10 offences through his Facebook account bearing the name ‘Ayea’ in March this year.

Five of the charges were framed charged under Section 298A(1)(a) of the Penal Code and the other five charges were under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

During the first hearing on March 13, the court ordered Alister to be observed for a month at the Sentosa Hospital, which was later extended for another two months as the hospital requested more time of observation.

Besides seeking a mental health evaluation, Alister’s lawyers also wanted the case proceedings against him to be reviewed as he had pleaded guilty when he did not fully understand the court proceedings and consequences of his plea due to the language used.

During his mental observation, the psychiatrist found that he had learning difficulties which indicated that the language which he is more familiar with ought to have been used.

High Court judge Azahari Kamal Ramli, when giving his ruling on the review application today, said Alister would have to serve only three of the five charges concurrently.

These will run consecutive to the other two charges with the RM50,000 fine remaining in lieu of six years’ jail.

Azahari said Alister’s medical report showed him to be mentally stable, and aware of his actions and the nature of his charges.— DayakDaily