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Court Jails Teenager for Death of 21 Students, 2 Teachers in Boarding School Fire

By DUBEM MONDAY with agency report

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A Court, on Monday, jailed a teenager for the death of 23 persons in a fire that he started at a religious boarding school in 2017.

The defendant was aged 16 at the time of the incident, which killed 21 teenage boys and two teachers in the school at Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, according to agency reports, which described it as one of the worst such tragedies in two decades.

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“He was found guilty of a conspiracy to commit murder but would not be subject to the death penalty because he was a minor when he committed the crime,” high court judge, Azman Abdullah, said, which was why his identity was also concealed.

The judge reportedly said instead, the defendant would be sent to jail for as long as the King deemed fit.

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The incidence sparked calls for tougher regulation over safety in privately-run schools, amidst media reports which indicated that the only door to the school’s dormitory had caught fire and the victims were trapped by metal bars on the windows.

The incident took place at a “Tahfiz” school, where students learnt to memorize the Qur’an, even as the defendant’s lawyer, Haijan Omar, said his client was sorry for what had happened but would appeal the decision.

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