Cousins jailed for ritual killing of parents

Adelaide Now, New Zealand/January 25, 2010

A Malaysian court has sentenced a man and his cousin to 10 years each in prison over the death of the man's parents during a violent spiritual cleansing ritual, their lawyer says.

Defence lawyer Supramaniam Kasia Pillai said a third man accused over the grisly 2008 murder of the couple, during a ceremony to expel evil spirits, was acquitted on the grounds of insanity today.

Supramaniam said the couple had been beaten "with everything the men could get hold of - helmets, table tops and even the table legs, with the aim to drive out evil''.

He said the High Court found Muhamad Fauzi Abdul Razak, 23 and his cousin, Muhammad Nizam Mohamad Ibrahim, 21, guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced them today to 10 years in prison for each of the deaths, to be served concurrently.

Public prosecutor Aidatul Azura Zainal Abidin said the three accused had testified that their victims were willing participants in the cleansing ritual.

"But this is something terrible. Normal people will not do this harmful act. They took a video of the session. The victims were beaten with helmets,'' she said.

Mohamad Ilyas, the acquitted third suspect, said during the trial that he had gained spiritual powers through his association with a banned Islamic cult, and that he could heal sick people and raise the dead.

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country and the authorities periodically crack down on unauthorised sects including the one Mohamad Ilyas was a member of.

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