The Shariah court in Putrajaya has deferred a verdict on whether charges against Muslim intellectual and octogenarian Kassim Ahmad should be dropped.
Malaysia's Federal Court is yet to pass a verdict in the case against Kassim after the Court of Appeal overturned in December an earlier ruling against him by the civil High Court.
Kassim, 82, is accused of insulting Islam and defying religious authorities at a seminar in March last year.
He was detained following a cross-border arrest warrant from the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) and kept in custody for more than 24 hours.
Kassim pleaded not guilty to the charges under Section 7(b) and Section 9 of the Shariah Criminal Offences. The charges attract a maximum fine of RM3,000 or imprisonment up to two years, or both.
Putrajaya Syariah High Court judge Azzeman Omar said on Monday the court deferred a judgment as the federal court is yet to consider the case.
"Therefore, for the sake of justice, the court postpones the decision until the case at the Federal Court is decided," he said, Malay Mail reported.
Following the Court of Appal's favourable verdict, Kassim's lawyers had asked the Shariah court in January to either free him from the two Shariah charges or give a discharge not amounting to acquittal.
In the December verdict the Appeals Court had said Kassim's arrest and detention were illegal.
Kane-wielding Kassim, who was present at the court with his family, said it was difficult for him to travel from his house in Kedah to Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur for numerous hearings.
"They are dragging from court to court an old man like me. It's not easy, if I were 20 years younger, it's different," he told reporters at the Shariah High Court, the report said.
He said his finances too were tight as he has to travel between five to eight hours on the road and stay at hotels.
"Of course it's a bit tight lah," he said.