Israeli Man Involved in Lynching of Asylum Seeker Sentenced to 100 Days Community Service

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David Moyal at the Court in Be'er Sheva, July 2018
David Moyal at the Court in Be'er Sheva, July 2018Credit: אליהו הרשקוביץ
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

An Israeli civilian who was involved in the lynching of an Eritrean asylum seeker after he was mistaken as a terrorist in the aftermath of an attack in southern Israel over two years ago was sentenced to 100 days of community service as part of a plea bargain.

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David Moyal was one of the four people involved in the beating of Haftom Zarhum, an Eritrean asylum seeker, who was also shot and succumbed to injuries shortly after the Be’er Sheva incident in October 2015.

Haftom Zarhum, who was killed by a mob wrongly suspecting him of terrorism on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.

Moyal was also fined 2,000 shekel ($560) as reparations for Moyal's family and received an eight month probation period. Moyal can be seen in a video taken by security cameras as beating Zarhum with a bench though he is already wounded on the ground and bleeding.

The lethal assault took place after a terrorist opened fire at the Be’er Sheva central bus station, killing a soldier and wounding 10 other people. The four accused – David Moyal, Evyatar Damari, soldier Yaakov Shamba and Israel Prisons Service employee Ronen Cohen – attached Zarhum because they thought he was the assailant.

Security footage of Haftom Zarhum being assaulted at the bus station

The coroner’s report submitted by the prosecution said that the four had caused Zarhum serious injuries, including a broken nose, but that it was the eight bullets that were fired at the asylum seeker by others that caused his death. A total of nine people can be seen attacking Zarhum in the video, but only these four were charged.

At the time, Moyal was working at a restaurant inside bus station. The crime he was sentenced for is abuse of a defenseless person and not for aggravated assault, which is what he was initially accused of, a charge that can carrying up to 20 years in prison. Moyal's lawyers asked for a lenient sentence.

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