KUALA LUMPUR: Five National Defence University (UPNM) students were charged with the murder of navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain today while another was charged with abetment.
Those charged with murder are Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, Azamuddin Md Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat and Mohamad Shobirin Sabri.
Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali was charged with abetting the five.
The six, all aged 21, are charged with jointly committing the offence in a room at Jebat hostel block in the university in Cheras on May 22.
No plea was taken when they were produced before magistrate Siti Radziah Kamarudin. The courtroom was packed with family members of the accused.
Offences that carry the death penalty are heard before a High Court judge.
Siti Radziah, however, fixed Aug 14 for the case to be mentioned before her.
In the same court, 19, including the six charged with murder and abetting, claimed trial to assaulting the deceased to obtain a confession over a period of two days.
Siti Radziah offered them bail at RM7,000 and fixed mention of their cases on July 17.
Government lawyer Nordin Ismail said 13 other suspects would be freed today but would turn prosecution witnesses.
Initially, police arrested 36 students in connection with the death of Zulfarhan on June 2. They were arrested at the UPNM campus at the Sungai Besi army camp.
Thirty-two of them are from UPNM while four are from Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten). All are aged between 20 and 21.
The Uniten students were subsequently freed, after being held under remand for five days.
Zulfarhan was found with burn marks and bruises in an apartment in Sepang by his friends around 8pm on June 1.
He was reported to have been still alive when his friends called an ambulance to rush him to hospital.
Zulfarhan is believed to have been a victim of bullying. He had been bound, beaten and burnt with an iron.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said that the perpetrators would not be spared.
“I have ordered the armed forces and UPNM to conduct an urgent investigation. No one will be spared legal action if found guilty,” he had said on Twitter.