Israeli who beat Eritrean mistaken for terrorist sentenced to community service


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli civilian was sentenced to 100 days of community service for taking part in the 2015 beating of an Eritrean national who he mistook for the terrorist who had just carried out an attack.

David Moyal slammed the Eritrean national, Haftom Zarhum, with a bench in the Beersheba Central Bus Station after an Israeli soldier was stabbed and killed by an assailant at the station in October 2015. Two other men also beat Zarhum on the head and torso while he was on the ground after being shot by the station’s security guard. All of them had mistaken Zarhum for the terrorist.

An autopsy determined that Zarhum, who was in Israel as an asylum seeker, had died from the guard’s bullet, but four men who beat or attacked him were charged with aggravated battery.

In addition to the community service, Moyal will be under probation for eight months and was ordered to pay Zarhum’s family about $550. The sentence was handed down Wednesday in Beersheba District Court.

The bus station attacker, a Bedouin-Israeli, stabbed a soldier and grabbed his M-16 rifle, then opened fire.

Security guards shot Zarhum, who was then beaten by a mob as he was prone on the ground. Video images of the attack show Zarhum incapacitated and lying in a pool of his own blood being kicked by bystanders who thought he was an assailant.

An autopsy found that Zarhum had eight gunshot wounds, two of which were fatal.

After the sentencing, Moyal said he was “glad it’s all behind me. I’m remorseful and regret what had happened,” Ynet reported.

Zarhum’s parents are suing for $3 million shekel, about $780,000, in damages. The lawsuit includes the Israel Police, the bus station’s security company and the four indicted assailants.

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