Five Students Charged with Navy Cadet Murder

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Mother wants justice and hopes the charge is maintained as murder. 

Five National Defence University (UPNM) students were charged with the murder of navy cadet 21-year-old Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain yesterday while another was charged with abetment.

The six, all aged 21, are charged with committing the offence at the university’s Jebat hostel in Cheras between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22.

No bail was offered and no plea was recorded for the six accused. The court later fixed Aug 14 for mention.

The courtroom was packed with family members of the accused.

Along with 13 others, the six are additionally charged with voluntarily causing hurt to force a confession from Zulfarhan Osman over the theft of a laptop. The suspects claimed trial.

Bail was offered at RM7,000 and their cases were fixed for mention on Jul 17.

Thirteen other suspects who were freed yesterday would turn prosecution witnesses.

Initially, police arrested 36 students in connection with the death of Zulfarhan. All aged between 20 and 21, 32 were from UPNM and four from Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten).

The Uniten students were subsequently freed, after being held under remand for five days.

The cadet was found with burn marks and bruises in a 25th-floor apartment in Sepang by his friends around 8pm on Jun 1.

It was reported that he was still alive when his friends rushed him to hospital in an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at around 10pm at Hospital Serdang.

Believed to have been a victim of bullying, he was allegedly 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 said on Twitter.

The News Straits Times reported that Zulfarhan’s mother is still coming to terms with the loss of her son. But, all she wants right now is justice.

Upon hearing about the charges against those accused of killing the eldest of her four children, Hawa Osman said, “I wish I could be there in court to look at their faces. I want them to know the anger and resentment I feel.”

“Let those responsible for my son’s murder receive fair punishment. Didn’t they feel anything when they tortured my son that way?

Asyraf Hamzah/NST

“I hope they receive the punishment they deserve,” she said

A school administrative assistant, Hawa questioned the circumstances which led to the brutal assault and murder of her son.

“What was the cause of it? Why was he tortured in such a way without any sympathy? His burns ran all the way from the front part of his body to his back.”

Hawa, 54, said she could not accept the barbaric way in which her son was abused.

“I can accept the tragedy (of losing my son), but the way that they hurt him was inhumane. He sustained 80 per cent of second-and third-degree burns. Don’t they have any sympathy?

“At the least, if something like that happened to a person, they should have sent the person to hospital for treatment. They had no mercy whatsoever.

“I hope they maintain the charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code (for murder). My family wants justice for my son’s death,” she said.

In describing Zulfarhan, Hawa said he had never disturbed anyone and always lent a hand when people asked for help.

She added that he wanted to become a sailor and dreamt of becoming an engineer.

“He was the family’s hope. I wanted to see him succeed. I wanted to see him get married.”

Zulfarhan’s father, Zulkarnain Idros, 53, said he was relieved that the five had been charged but he was not happy.

Ben Tan/Malay Mail

“I am relieved (but) I am not happy…. Nothing can bring my son back. I am glad police investigated it quickly,” he said.

Hawa said Zulfarhan’s siblings – Zulhelmie Idros, 19, Zulfaiqah Lyana, 17, and Zulhelyna Fatimah, 15 – were reeling from the loss.

“I pray for (Zulfarhan) every day. With Hari Raya coming soon, my husband and I think of him more often. His brother and sisters miss him.”

Related report: Jun 8, Probe Team of Cadet Officer’s Death to Report to Hishammuddin