Accused denies giving order to use steam iron on cadet marine officer

Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia cadet marine officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain was allegedly tortured with a steam iron. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The sixth accused in the murder trial of Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) cadet marine officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain denied he was the mastermind who ordered his college mates to torture the victim using a steam iron.

Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali, 24, also denied in the High Court today that he turned the steam iron on Zulfarhan to extract his confession over the theft of several items, including cash and laptops, purportedly stolen by the victim.

“I do not agree that I am the mastermind in the incident as I did not give any order that night.

“I do not know but I think Mubin Mustaza (another colleague) was the source,” said the accused who held the post of intake head for cadet students in his group, including Zulfarhan.

Recounting the incident on the night of May 22, 2017, Hakeem said he received a message via WhatsApp from Mubin, who asked if he had seen Zulfarhan.

“Mubin told me that his money was missing and he suspected Zulfarhan of taking it. Many other students also claimed losing things but I did not know the actual total.

“I told Mubin that I did not know where Zulfarhan was. After finishing my assignment, I went straight to Zulfarhan’s Room 3-6 to verify Mubin’s complaints but when I arrived, Zulfarhan’s roommate, Syafiq, was there,” he said in the examination-in-chief by his counsel, Zambri Idrus, during the defence proceedings in Zulfarhan’s murder case.

The accused said he asked Syafiq the whereabouts of Zulfarhan and was told the victim had followed Mubin and another friend, who was the 24th prosecution witness, Ahmad Senabil Mohamad, to Room 4-10.

“Upon arriving at Room 4-10, I saw a group of students in the room surrounding Zulfarhan, who was seated on a chair in the middle.

“They were questioning Zulfarhan about the missing items allegedly stolen by him but Zulfarhan did not admit to the thefts. I later sat for a while in the room before returning to my room as I had to complete my assignment,” said Abdoul Hakeem.

Questioned by another lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad, whether he returned to Room 4-10 after the incident, the accused replied, ”Yes, I returned to Room 4-10 at about 4am.”

The accused said at that time, he saw Mubin holding the steam iron while questioning Zulfarhan if he had stolen things from the students in Jebat Block, which is the hostel for cadet students.

“Zulfarhan did not admit and continued to scream each time the steam iron was pressed on his body. Mubin, who was not satisfied with Zulfarhan’s answer, later handed the iron to another accused, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, who pressed the steam iron onto Zulfarhan’s arm,” he said.

On May 26, 2017, the accused said Zulfarhan was brought by several friends to Klinik Al-Salam in Bangi for treatment. When asked by the doctor about his injuries, Zulfarhan told him he was struck by a steam bomb during training in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

Deputy public prosecutor Julia Ibrahim, during her cross-examination of the accused, queried Hakeem’s actions as the intake head as he had not reported the incident to the university and, in fact, left the victim to be tortured with the steam iron by Mubin and Najib.

Hakeem disagreed with Julia’s suggestion that his statement and denial in court was to save himself.

Julia: Your statement today was only for you and your friends involved to avoid facing any action.

Hakeem: Disagree.

Julia: You and your friends did not bring Zulfarhan to the clinic for treatment earlier after the incident for fear the matter might be known by others.

Hakeem: Disagree.

On July 31 last year, the High Court ordered 18 UPNM students to enter their defence for the murder, abetting to murder and injuring Zulfarhan.

The five accused, Muhammad Akmal, Muhammad Azamuddin, Najib, Muhammad Afif and Mohamad Shobirin face the murder charge while Hakeem was charged with abetting in the murder of Zulfarhan.

The offence was allegedly committed at Room 04-10 in the Jebat hostel block of UPNM between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22, 2017 under Section 302 of the Penal Code while Hakeem was charged under Section 109 of the same code, which provides for the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

They were charged with 12 others, namely 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, who were ordered to enter their defence for injuring the victim.

All the accused were charged with causing wilful hurt to the victim to extract a confession for the theft of a laptop under Section 330 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same code, which provides for a maximum of seven years jail and fine.

The trial before Judge Abdullah continues on Friday.