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Insulting Islam: Lawyer shocked over 10-year jailing of FB user

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Lawyer Latheefa Koya has called for a review of the 10-year jail sentence imposed on a social media account holder yesterday for insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

She said the sentence delivered by the Kuching Sessions Court was disproportionate and constituted a breach of the rule of law.

“Shocking and unprecedented that the court passed a sentence of 10 years jail over an offence like this.

“He (the person sentenced) had pleaded guilty, which should have been taken into account. Ten years consecutively is disproportionate and must be reviewed.

“This breaches the rule of law,” the Lawyers for Liberty executive director posted on her personal Twitter account today.

Her criticism comes following a statement issued by the inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun today informing of the sentence.

The accused, holder of Facebook account 'Ayea Yea', was one of four individuals slapped with multiple charges in Kuching and Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The former had pleaded guilty to 10 charges under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998, which deals with the posting of offensive comments and causing disharmony and prejudice on religious grounds.

The Kuching Sessions Court ordered that the sentences for each charge be carried out consecutively, resulting in an accumulative jail term of 10 years and 10 months.

Prior to this, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa had recently announced the formation of a special unit to monitor insults against the Prophet and Islam.

“I have instructed the unit to accept any complaints about insults towards the Prophet and Islam, and to immediately report them to the police and the Communications and Multimedia Commission,” the de facto religious affairs minister said on Thursday.

The formation of the special unit came in the wake of a slew of arrests against individuals suspected of insulting Islam online, with police reportedly conducting 16 probes based on a whopping 929 police reports lodged.

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