Reduced sentence for Sarawakian convicted of insulting Islam

Alister Cogia (right) outside the High Court in Kuching today.

KUCHING: The High Court here today reduced the sentence of a 22-year-old Sarawakian convicted of insulting Islam on social media from 10 to six years’ imprisonment.

Alister Cogia was originally sentenced to 10 years’ jail and fined RM50,000 after pleading guilty to five charges of insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook in February.

He was charged under Section 298A (1)(a) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

However, he was referred to a mental institution after his mother claimed he had been showing signs of mental illness from an early age, with his lawyers requesting a review of the case.

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 fit, and aware of his actions and the nature of his charges.

But his lawyer Francis Teron maintained that Alister did not understand the charges against him.

He said Alister has 14 days to file an appeal against the sentence.