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KUALA LUMPUR: As judge Datuk Azman Abdullah ordered 18 men to enter their defence for allegedly murdering National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain, there was a distinctive and decidedly audible sigh of relief from the packed gallery.

It came from the victim’s parents, Zulkarnain Idros and Hawa Osman, who came from Johor to attend the proceeding.

There was a look of satisfaction on their faces when Azman meted out the judgement against the accused.

“Alhamdulillah” (praised to god) can be heard from their stand as the judgement was made.

The duo arrived as early as 7am with their family members for the decision at the end of the prosecution’s case today.

They sat calmly in the public gallery together with the accused’s family members, who were also present to wait for the much-anticipated decision against the accused at the High Court.

Zulkarnain was later seen on bended knees and bowed in gratitude before bursting into tears outside the courtroom.

When approached, the 55-year-old father said he was happy with the decision.

“I would like to say thank you to all people who pray for my son’s justice,” he said.

Zulfarhan’s mother, Hawa, 56, said she hoped that a fair punishment would be handed down to those who committed the crime.

“I still heard his voice at night and we really miss his presence especially during Hari Raya.

“We waited almost two years for this,” she said.

Azman, in ordering the accused to enter their defence, said the prosecution had proven a prima facie case against the 18.

However, he acquitted and discharged one of the accused, Muhammad Akmal Akif Alias, from voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Zulfarhan.

Akmal, clad in a blue blazer, said he had been victimised during the incident.

“I would like to continue my studies which had been halted due to this incident,” he said.

The court fixed Oct 2 for defence’s trial to commence.

Muhammad Akmal Zuhairi, Muhammad Azamuddin, Muhammad Najib Mohd Razi, Muhammad Afif Najmudin Azahat, Mohamad Shobirin Sabri and Abdoul Hakeem Mohd Ali pleaded not guilty to murdering and abetting the murder of Zulfarhan Osman at room number 04-10 of Jebat Hostel in UPNM between 4.45am and 5.45am on May 22, 2017.

The charges were framed under Sections 302 and 109 of the Penal Code, which carry the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

The six, all aged 22, along with 13 other accused were also charged with voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession from the victim, under Section 330 of the Penal Code, read together with Section 34 of the same code, which carries a maximum seven years’ jail and a fine upon conviction.

Zulfarhan who died at Serdang Hospital on June 1, 2017, is believed to have been abused after being accused of stealing his friend’s laptop.

The victim was reported to have suffered from burns on the chest, arms and legs believed to have been caused by a steam iron.

“Alhamdulillah” (praised to god) can be heard from their stand as the judgement was made. When approached, Zulkarnain Idrus, 53 (left), Zulfarhan Osman (right) father said he was happy with the decision. (NSTP/AIZUDDIN SAAD)
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