KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 — Hawa Osman was robbed of her eldest son Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain when he died four years ago while just a student at the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) in Sungai Besi here.

The pain of learning that his death was caused by fellow cadet students remains even until today.

Speaking from the witness stand in the High Court that had earlier convicted the six young men, Hawa called for justice to be served on her son’s killers.

“The deceased is my eldest son who was meant to help the family. This includes helping his younger siblings to pursue their studies at the university level, because my husband is already retired and is now only earning a living by driving a taxi and I only operate a secondary school canteen,” she said, reading aloud slowly from her victim impact statement before Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah.

She said that she and her husband had counted on Zulfarhan to take care of them in their twilight years.

“I want punishment equal to the loss of a meaningful person in my life, and this punishment should be a fair lesson to society at large so that they are more careful in their actions. 

“I hope this punishment can prevent such incidents from occurring ever again,” she sobbed.

In a voice thick with emotion, she said she hoped other parents will never feel the pain of losing a child on whom the entire family had pinned their hopes and dreams.

Hawa told the court that she and her husband had been so traumatised after losing Zulfarhan that their health suffered.

She developed severe cataract problems in 2018 due to constant crying. Her blood pressure also shot up, she said.

Ever since then, she became fearful of letting her other children leave the family home to live on their own or even pursue their studies away from her.

“I feared the same incident could happen to them,” she said.

Hawa said she won’t let her other children join any uniformed services and that she now sees the uniformed services as having “taken my child away from me”.

Six of the 18 people accused of killing Zulfarhan were earlier today found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which means they will not be sentenced to death.

The lesser charge under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code prescribes a mandatory jail sentence that can be extended up to 30 years, and a fine.

The six are Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, Muhammad Azamuddin Mod Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, Mohamad Shobirin Sabri and Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali.

The other 12 are: Mohd Hafiz Fauzan Ismail, Mohamad Lukhmanul Hakim Mohd Zain, Ahmad Shafwan Berdal, Muhammad Amirul Asraff Mala, Luqman Hakim Shamsuri, Muhammad Sufi Mohd Mustapha, Noriznan Izzairi Noor Azhar, Muhamad Ashraf Abdullah, Muhammad Danial Firdaus Azmir, Muhammad Hasif Ismail, Muhammad Adib Iman Fuad Adi Sany and Mohamad Syazwan Musa.

They were charged with voluntarily causing hurt to Zulfarhan whom they had accused of stealing a laptop and trying to force a confession out of him.

This offence under Section 330 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same Act, prescribes a maximum imprisonment of seven years, and a fine, upon conviction.

The accused were represented by a panel of lawyers comprising Amer Hamzah Arshad, Ranjit Singh Dhillon, AG Kalidas, Hazizah Kassim, M Ramachelvam, Azizul Shariman Mat Yusoff and Zamri Idrus.

In mitigation, the defence lawyers asked for a reduced prison sentence, saying it was their first time committing their offences.

The lawyers even listed their scholastic accomplishments and pled for leniency, saying the accused had all repented and learnt their lesson and were even pursuing religious studies.

But deputy public prosecutor N. Joy Jothi said their past accomplishments and whether or not it was their first offence should not matter.

She reminded the court of the torture Zulfarhan had undergone before his death.

“Of course the [defence] lawyers are asking for an opportunity, but what about the opportunity they had 90 times when he was attacked with the iron?

“They had all the opportunity to stop at any time but they did not use that particular opportunity and that is why these submissions should not be taken into consideration by this court.

“I would like to also highlight this culture that has been mentioned by all of the accused. Are we condoning this kind of culture, are we condoning these cadets in becoming soldiers of this particular nation, to protect this nation?” Joy asked the court.

The judge then sentenced the six accused to 18 years imprisonment for causing the death of Zulfarhan. The prison sentences are to begin from the date of their arrest.

The 12 accused charged under Section 330 were sentenced to three years’ imprisonment each.

However, the judge also allowed a stay of execution pending an appeal.