July 4, 2018 / 11:20 AM / 3 months ago

Israeli to do community service over mob attack on Eritrean

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli was sentenced on Wednesday to 100 days of community service for taking part in a mob attack on an Eritrean mistaken for a gunman who had attacked a bus station.

An Arab citizen of Israel carried out the shooting three years ago in the southern city of Beersheba, killing a soldier and wounding 11 other people before he was shot dead by police.

During the turmoil, a security guard shot Haftom Zarhum, an Eritrean asylum-seeker, apparently believing he was an assailant.

Lying on the floor bleeding - he later died in hospital of his gunshot wounds - the Eritrean was kicked several times by people who slipped through a loose cordon in what police termed a lynching.

Under a plea bargain, David Muial, a 33-year-old Israeli who worked in a restaurant in the bus station, admitted to a charge of “abusing the helpless”. Muial, the court found, dropped a metal bench on the 29-year-old victim.

Under the terms of the deal, Muial was ordered to perform 100 days of community service and pay the Eritrean’s family about $550, court documents showed.

The non-custodial sentence appeared to reflect medical findings that bullets fired by the security guard - who has not been charged in the case - were the direct cause of the Eritrean’s death, rather than the beating he suffered.

The victim’s family is suing Israel for about $780,000 in damages. 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.

Three other Israelis, accused in the case of aggravated battery, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail, are still on trial.

Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; editing by David Stamp

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