Sudanese Man Claims Discrimination After State Denies Compensation for Asylum Seeker’s Death

Judge claims it is unclear if the family’s representative is a relative, and if the deceased's family would receive the money in Chad.

Al-Sadik Sharaf al-Din, a Sudanese asylum seeker who was killed in an altercation in Israel in October 2014.
Family of Al-Sadik Sharaf al-Din (Courtesy)

A purported cousin of a Sudanese asylum seeker who was killed in Israel says a court has discriminated against his family in not awarding them compensation from the killers.

The judge ruled that no compensation could be approved for members of the family, who live in a refugee camp in Chad, because it would be difficult to assure that the money reached them.

On the day of the killing in October 2014, the victim, Al-Sadik Sharaf al-Din, went to the parking lot of his apartment building in southern Israel after drinking alcohol. He encountered three young acquaintances who had also been drinking. One had hidden a knife nearby.

Sharaf al-Din joined the three, but an argument ensued with one of the young men. The two others then attacked Sharaf al-Din and stabbed him in the thigh. He was left at the entrance to his building and his body was found the next morning.

Following a police investigation, the three were arrested and the police located Nur Ahmed Hussein, the man who says he’s the victim’s cousin. He was made responsible for the burial on behalf of the family.

Hussein received the body from the police following an autopsy and arranged for the funeral. He also notified Sharaf al-Din’s family of his death.

The victim’s parents and four younger siblings fled fighting in Sudan for a UN refugee camp in Chad. Sharaf al-Din himself came to Israel and worked at an iron plant in Ashkelon. He would transfer some of his salary to his family.

After Sharaf al-Din’s death, his parents gave Hussein power of attorney, authorizing him to seek compensation on their behalf. Hussein’s lawyer, Reda Anbusi, approached the police and prosecutor’s office and sought to submit a crime-victim statement by Hussein.

By that point, two of the defendants had been convicted of manslaughter and were awaiting sentencing. Anbusi claimed that the prosecutors failed to keep Hussein informed on the case’s progress. The law requires the court to hear testimony from crime victims’ families before passing sentence, but it only applies to immediate family.

The power of attorney that Hussein received lacked notarization but the family reportedly had no way of contacting a notary. Hussein was nevertheless allowed to submit a statement on the loss of income to the family due to the killing. Hussein and his lawyer asked that compensation be paid into an account that would be accessible only to immediate relatives of the victim.

In January, the two defendants were sentenced – one to nine years and one to six. In her ruling the judge also addressed compensation, writing that although the killing caused the victim’s family grief and financial loss, she could not require restitution from the defendants because it was unclear the compensation would reach the family in Chad.

The judge added that it was unclear Hussein was a relative, despite the power of attorney. It was suggested that the authorities could temporarily transfer funds to the Justice Ministry’s administrator general until Hussein’s kinship was proved and it was clear the parents would receive the money.

Hussein’s lawyer, Anbusi, said an injustice had been done to the family and that it was “particularly outrageous” that the court refrained from awarding damages on the grounds that the family’s relationship to Hussein was uncertain.

In a similar case, prosecutors recently demanded that a foreign tourist who was raped be compensated even though she did not have family in the country. The court ordered compensation of 85,000 shekels ($21,900), even though the woman had already left Israel.

In a similar case last year, the Tel Aviv District Court ordered 258,000 shekels in compensation to the daughter of a Romanian worker who was murdered by her domestic partner. The daughter did not live in Israel.

“The prosecution asked at the sentencing stage for the court to award damages to the family of the deceased and saw to it to get a [crime-victim] statement. A family representative also came to the hearing and spoke in court,” the prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

“The court rejected the prosecution’s request regarding monetary compensation and accepted the stance of the accused’s representatives that there was no certainty [Hussein] was a relative and that the money would reach the deceased’s family.”