Two Malaysian teenagers were charged on Thursday with murder after being accused of intentionally setting fire at an Islamic boarding school that killed 23 people, mostly students.
The accused boys are minors but prosecutor Othman Abdullah said he couldn’t immediately provide their exact ages.
Because of their age, they will not face a possible death penalty. Othman said no plea was taken from the two boys and the magistrate set a hearing for November 28.
They were among seven teenagers detained days after the September 14 blaze for allegedly using cooking gas tanks and petrol to set fire to a dormitory on the top floor of the tahfiz school, where Muslim students learn to memorise the Quran.
The blaze blocked the lone exit to the dormitory, trapping students behind barred windows, killing two teachers and 21 students between the ages of 6 to 17.
Police have said the suspects sought revenge after allegedly being teased by some tahfiz students a few days before the fire.
Othman said the two murder suspects, plus four other boys who were detained, have been charged with drug abuse. One of the seven has been released due to lack of evidence, he added.
Several family members of the fire victims and journalists were shooed out of the court room before the teens were charged.
Mas Aliza Ali Bapoo, 22, said she hopes the court will mete out justice for her three cousins who died in the blaze — the three boys aged 13, 11 and 10 joined the school in January. “We want justice. We want appropriate punishment so that it will be a lesson for others,” she said outside the courtroom.—AP