KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — The High Court today ordered 18 students of the Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) to enter their defence on charges of murdering and injuring their varsity mate, cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, two years ago.
Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah reached the decision after concluding that the prosecution had successfully established a prima facie case against the 18 accused.
Five accused, Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi, Muhammad Azamuddin Mad Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri are charged with murder while Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali is charged with abetting the murder of Zulfarhan Osman.
They allegedly committed the offence at room 04-10, of the Jebat hostel building in UPNM, between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22, 2017.
The charges against the accused were made under Section 302 and 109 of the Penal Code, which carry the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.
All the accused are now 23 years old.
The court set October 2 and 3, November 4 to 7, November 18 to 20 and December 3 and 4, 2019 for the defence proceedings.
A total of 29 witnesses were called to testify, including two eyewitnesses, throughout the prosecution trial which started on January 29, 2018.
The prosecution is being conducted by DPPs Julia Ibrahim and N.Joy Jothi.
The accused were represented by a panel of lawyers comprising Amer Hamzah Arshad, Datuk Ranjit Singh Dhillon, A.G. Kalidas, Datuk Hazizah Kassim, Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam, Azizul Shariman Mat Yusoff and Zamri Idrus.
Meanwhile, Zulfarhan Osman’s father, Zulkarnain Idros, 55, was seen performing ‘sujud syukur’ (prostration of gratitude) outside the courtroom while his mother, Hawa Osman, 56, said she was always thinking of her son even though it had been two years since his death.
Muhammad Akmal Akif expressed his gratitude and promised to continue his studies.
Zulfarhan Osman died at the Serdang Hospital on June 1, 2017, believed to have been abused after being accused of stealing his friend’s laptop.
The victim was reported to have suffered burns on the chest, arms and legs, and believed to have been tortured with a steam iron. — Bernama