Monday, August 10

Philippine boy jailed for supporting Abu Sayyaf Group

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KOTA KINABALU: An under-aged Philippine boy was jailed five years by the High Court here yesterday for supporting the Abu Sayyaf Group by uploading pictures and a video to social media Facebook.

Justice Ravinthran Paramaguru imposed the sentence on the teenager who was arrested for supporting the group by uploading those items on a Facebook account under the name of Abu Tahlaba Al-basilanie between March 1 and March 6, 2017 beside Putatan flyover, next to Kampung Petagas here.

Yesterday was fixed for his probation report prepared by the Welfare Department to be tendered to court as the accused is a youthful offender.

The boy had previously pleaded guilty to the charge framed under Section 130J (1) (a) of the Penal Code which provides for a life imprisonment or a jail term of up to 30 years or a fine, and shall also be liable to forfeiture of any property used or intended to be used in connection with the commission of the offence, upon conviction.

In imposing the custodial sentence on the accused, the judge held that what had been done by the accused was an offence under Malaysian law.

The judge also said the court gave consideration that the accused had reached the age of maturity between the date of the commission of the offence where the accused reached 18  a few days after committing the offence.

Apart from the accused’s age, the court also took into account that the accused was a first offender and he  had only uploaded photos and the video but he did not go to the extent of making any oath of allegiance to any leader or ‘baiah’.

Ravinthran said he would not mind imposing a heavier custodial sentence on the accused, adding the latter should consider himself lucky.

The judge did not think of sending the accused to a reform school as the offence committed was a serious one.

He ordered the accused, whose race is Yakan, to serve his jail term from the date of his arrest on March 7, 2017.

In pleading for a light sentence, counsel Mohd Nazim Maduarin, who represented the accused, submitted that his client had no previous conviction and had just reunited with his father in 2016 when he came to Sabah from their hometown.

The counsel also said the accused’s educational level was only at Grade Seven, which is equivalent to Form One in Malaysia.

Mohd Nazim further submitted that his client did not know that what he had done was an offence and wished to turn a new leaf as the accused wanted to go back to his country of origin.

In reply, deputy public prosecutor Azlina Rasdi applied for a deterrent sentence to be given to the accused.

She argued that even though the accused was a first offender, the court should take into account the gravity of the offence when imposing the punishment.