Liew: Govt can't interfere in court's decision over FB user's 10-year sentence

KUALA LUMPUR: While some have deemed it excessive, the government cannot interfere in the court's decision to impose a 10-year jail sentence on a man who insulted Islam, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

"It is up to the courts. We as the executive, cannot interfere with the decision of the judiciary on this matter," he said.

Liew noted that a convicted person had the right under the law to appeal if he was unhappy with the court's decision.

"He can appeal if he thinks it is excessive.

"If the High Court affirms the earlier decision, he can make an appeal to the Court of Appeal," he told reporters in Parliament lobby on Wednesday (March 13)

Besides making an appeal, Liew, who is in charge of law, said the High Court could on its own motion, call for the case to be reviewed.

Liew was asked to comment on the recent case of 22-year-old Sarawakian Facebook user Alister Cogia, who was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months’ jail by the Kuching Sessions Court after admitting to insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

Following the case, several people including the Malaysian Bar said that the sentence was excessive, particularly when the crime did not involve violence or physical injury.

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