KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here sentenced six students from the National Defence University (UPNM) to 18 years’ jail for causing the death of navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain four years ago.
Trial judge Azman Abdullah meted out the sentence after hearing submissions from their lawyers and an impact victim statement from Zulfarhan’s family.
“For those who are found guilty under Section 304 of the Penal Code, you will serve your 18 years’ jail sentence from your date of arrest in 2017,” he said.
Earlier, the court convicted the six – Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi Azmal, Azamuddin Md Sofi, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, Mohamad Shobirin Sabri and Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali – for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Azman also imposed a three-year jail sentence against 12 other UPNM students, who were found guilty of assaulting Zulfarhan to force him to confess to stealing a laptop.
“However, the court grants a stay of execution against the 12 accused persons under Section 330,” he said.
No stay of execution was granted for the six men.
You’re young, but you’re like hardcore criminals, says judge
Before sentencing, Azman described their act of assaulting and causing Zulfarhan’s death as that of “hardcore criminals”.
“Though you’re young, your acts are akin to those of hardcore criminals.
“I feel sad for your family members because of what you did. If you had not done it, you would be officers in the armed forces today.”
The judge said looking at post-mortem photos tendered before him, he could not imagine the pain Zulfarhan had to endure on May 22, 2017.
The court previously heard that Zulfarhan’s body had been found with 90 burn marks from a hot electric iron.
“As normal human beings, we will definitely feel pain the moment we touch a hot iron.
“In our case today, there were multiple iron marks on the deceased’s body. I don’t know how he went through it. If you (accused persons) loved him, you would not have pressed an iron on him,” Azman said.
Meanwhile Zulfarhan’s mother Hawa Osman when reading out the victim impact statement to the court, said the family suffered a lot of pain after his death.
“I even developed cataracts in 2018 because I could not stop crying over my son’s death.
“I am now afraid to let my other children join any uniformed bodies or agencies,” she said.
Hawa added that the family hoped the court would impose a deterrent sentence against the six men found guilty of manslaughter and the other 12 convicted of assaulting Zulfarhan.
“I hope other families will not suffer like we did.”
Hawa told the court the family hoped that Zulfarhan’s death would be a lesson to all.
“He was my eldest child and he always used to cheer us up. Although it has been more than four years, I will never forget him,” she said.
After the court’s decision, Zulfarhan’s father, Zulkarnain Idros, told reporters that the family was thankful for the ruling.
“I would like to tell everyone out there that no one should ever bully another person. Because of bullying, I lost my son,” he said.
Zulkarnain also said they were informed by the prosecution that an appeal will be filed to restore the murder charges against the six men.
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