Israeli gets 100 days community service for lynching asylum seeker he mistook for terrorist (VIDEO)
An Israeli man has avoided jail time and instead been sentenced to 100 days community service for his role in a mob beating of an Eritrean asylum seeker mistaken for a terrorist in the aftermath of an attack.
The Beersheba District Court sentenced David Muial, 33, on Wednesday, for his participation in the 2015 mob beating of Haftom Zarhum, 29, as he lay bleeding on the floor of a bus station.
In October 2015, Zarhum was an innocent bystander during a bus station gun attack by an Arab Israeli. The attack left four people dead and 10 wounded. He was shot during the ensuing chaos by a security guard who mistook him for being involved in the attack.
As he bled out on the bus station floor, Zarhum was set upon by an agitated crowd who beat him repeatedly with blows to the head while others, including Muial, dropped a metal bench on him. He died from his wounds in hospital with an autopsy recording the gunshot wound as the primary cause of death.
Footage of the incident shows that a total of nine people participated in the attack on Zarhum, however, only four people have since faced charges.
Muial, the first of the men to receive a sentence, was convicted of “abusing the helpless” rather than the more serious charge of aggravated assault, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years. He also has to pay a 2,000 shekel ($560) reparations to Zarhum's family and received an eight month probation period. His lawyer had asked for a lenient sentence.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Justice Ministry has indicated that Muial’s sentence would be the most lenient, due to his fears at the time that the victim was indeed a terrorist.
The remaining defendants - Evyatar Damari, soldier Yaakov Shamba and Israel Prisons Service employee Ronen Cohen - are still on trial for the more serious charge of aggravated battery, and the ministry expects them to receive tougher sentences.
A fifth suspect, another prison guard, was cleared of criminal charges but recommended for disciplinary charges.
Zarhum’s family are also in the process of suing the state over the incident, seeking a total of $780,000 in damages. According to Reuters, they allege that police and the security company guarding the bus station were negligent during the incident, which occurred during a wave of Palestinian stabbing and shooting attacks in Israel.
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