Azzam Raguragui was only 18 years old when his life was taken away from him, during the holy month of Ramadan. A young man, with his whole life ahead of him.
A fight had broken out in Finsbury Park, Dublin, Ireland over a stolen bike, in May 2019. Azzam was chased down and stabbed 5 times in broad daylight – he suffered fatal wounds to a major artery and eventually died of severe blood loss.
On September 18th 2020 – after deliberating for 13 hours and 17 minutes over three days, the jury returned a majority 10-2 verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter.
The defendant in the trial was found not guilty of murder despite five stab wounds on Azzam’s body according to the acting Chief State Pathologist.
The trial heard the witness accounts of Azzam’s attempts to run away from the gang and that the intention to inflict harm on him was clearly premeditated, evidenced by the possession of a weapon. The trial heard the cause of death; one of the wounds severed an artery and caused massive blood loss which led to his death.
The trial also heard witness accounts of Azzam’s warm personality. He was a young boy who was caring and respectful of his parents, an obligation which holds the utmost importance in Islam. The trial also heard of his contributions to the Muslim community, and to his friends and family.
Currently, people can get a maximum sentence of five years and/or a fine for carrying a knife intended to incapacitate or injure another person under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons (Amendment) Bill 2019. The verdict of the trial resulted in the accused receiving less than the 5-year sentence despite the knife crime resulting in a death.
His family, friends and wider Muslim community are devastated. This provides no closure or justice for Azzam or his family. Azzam’s mother, Hajiba, upon hearing the verdict of the trial stated: “They killed me twice. First when they stabbed my son and now with this unfair verdict.”
Azzam and his family deserve justice. The defendant must be prosecuted accordingly.