Grievous Assault and Murder targeting two Eritrean refugees in Israel

On the 3 December 2019, four Eritrean men brutally attacked two Eritrean refugees in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In attacks which were to all intents and purposes unprovoked, the two refugees were beaten and stabbed. One died two days later from his injuries, and the other is still in hospital recovering from his wounds. The motive for these attacks remains unclear.

Kiros Tesfamichael Bariagaber, the first victim was attacked whilst cycling, at around 3:00a.m in the morning.  The gang of four stopped him in the street, beat him, stabbed him all over his body and left him for dead. Mr Bariagaber, who came to Israel in 2012, was 35 years old and the father of three children who are still in Eritrea. As the gang was beating and stabbing him, he was heard to cry out repeatedly “my children! my children!”

Mr Bariagaber’s assailants then headed to St, Mary Eritrean Orthodox Church, where they attacked a deacon as he stood outside the compound of the church praying. They punched him numerous times, stabbed him nine times, then left him there bleeding. 

Three of the perpetrators of these crimes were arrested, brought before court on 5 December, and remained in custody. One of them went into hiding, was arrested on 8 December, and appeared in Weizmann court on 9 December. It is understood that the one who was in hiding, was about to migrate to Canada, and was due to fly there on 10 December.

We urge the Israeli authorities to investigate and uncover the motives behind these appalling crimes and to ensure the four perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Murder is murder, regardless of the victim’s nationality and immigration status, and Israel, which prides itself on its legal system and democracy, must ensure justice for the victims by enforcing the stipulated punishments for these heinous attacks.

Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)