Prison Tribunal Acquits Suspect in Be'er Sheva Mob Slaying

Footage published by Haaretz showed the suspect and another beating Zarhum's body with a bench. But the judges found he had 'acted reasonably to neutralize a threat.'

Video footage from the October 18, 2015 terror attack at the Be'er Sheva bus station, showing Zarhum being kicked while lying bleeding on the floor.
Video footage from the October 18, 2015 terror attack at the Be'er Sheva bus station, showing Zarhum being kicked while lying bleeding on the floor. Screengrab

An Israel Prisons Authority tribunal decided on Tuesday against charging  jailer Hananiya Shabbat for involvement in the mob slaying of an Eritrean asylum seeker at the site of a deadly Be'er Sheva shooting attack.

Shabbat was one of five Israelis suspected of killing Haftom Zarhum, 29, after the bus station shooting in October. Four others have been indicted as suspects in the attack.

Judges recommended disciplinary proceedings over an indictment against Shabbat.

Habtom Zarhum, the Eritrean bystander killed in Be'er Sheva in October 2015
(Courtesy)

"The situation in which the jailer acted, given the physical circumstances at the time did not  deviate from reasonable response," the judges ruled.

A videotape published by Haaretz showed Shabbat beating Zarhum's body with a bench along with another suspect. But the judges found he had "acted reasonably to neutralize a threat, and the moment the goal was achieved he took no further action against the target presented to him as a terrorist."

Zarhum was killed after Mohannad al-Okbi, a 19-year-old Bedouin from Hura, opened fire at the station, killing Sgt. Omri Levy, 19, of Moshav Sde Hemed and wounded 10 other people.

A security officer shot Zarhum when the gunfire began, thinking he was an accomplice. Zarhum was wounded, beaten at the scene, and died of his injuries.