2 boys slapped with 23 counts of murder over tahfiz school fire

suspect-tahfizKUALA LUMPUR: Two boys, both aged 16, were charged in the Magistrate’s Court here today with 23 counts of murder relating to the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school fire on Sept 14.

No plea was taken during the closed-door proceedings today before Magistrate Siti Radziah Kamarudin.

The fire, which the authorities claimed was caused by arson, killed 21 students and two teachers of the school located at Jalan Keramat Ujung here.

Family members of the fire victims present in the courtroom were asked to leave when the proceedings began. However, the family members of the accused were allowed to remain.

Deputy public prosecutor Othman Abdullah conducted the prosecution.

Seven suspects were detained on Sept 15 during the police investigation into the fire, but Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said yesterday that not all of them were directly involved in the alleged arson.

Meanwhile, in a related case at another Magistrate’s Court, three boys, aged 12, 15 and 16, were accused under Section 15(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act for self-administrating cannabis and methamphetamine. They claimed trial to the charges.

The boys’ lawyer Noor Svetlana Mohd Noor Nordin said Magistrate Zilfinaz Abbas held the proceedings behind closed doors.

The magistrate set Nov 28 for the next mention to await the report on the boys’ urine tests.

The 12-year-old was allowed bail of RM3,000 on one surety, but the other two accused were refused bail for their personal safety, according to Noor Svetlana.

Another two boys, aged 16 and 17, have already pleaded guilty to the charges under Section 15(1)(a).

Their case will be mentioned on Nov 28 when the report of the welfare department on the boys is considered by the court.