Thursday 22 August 2019

'We are resting our faith in the justice system' - parents of teenage boy stabbed to death in park

Azzam Raguragui (18) was fatally stabbed on Friday night in Dundrum
Azzam Raguragui (18) was fatally stabbed on Friday night in Dundrum
Azzam Raguragui
Azzam Raguragui is believed to have died from a single knife wound to the chest

Kathy Armstrong and Robin Schiller

THE parents of a teenage boy who was stabbed to death in a park have said: "We are resting our faith in the Irish justice system."

Azzam Raguragui (18) was fatally stabbed on Friday night in Dundrum following a row in a local park.

His devastated parents Abderrahmane Raguragui and Hajiba Elouaddaf thanking the public for their support and said they are hopeful that those responsible for Azzzam's murder will face justice.

They said in a statement: "The past few days have been very difficult and challenging for our family.

Azzam Raguragui is believed to have died from a single knife wound to the chest
Azzam Raguragui is believed to have died from a single knife wound to the chest

"An Garda Síochána are leading in the investigation to uncover the truth behind our son Azzam Raguragui’s murder and we are resting our faith in the Irish Justice system to hold the perpetrator(s) to account.

"We are grateful for the community support we have received.

"At this critical time we would like to request some space and privacy to allow us to grieve as a family."

Azzam has been described as respectful and cheerful, and was due to attend evening prayers in Clonskeagh Mosque after the incident.

Detectives have launched a murder investigation into the killing and have ruled out a racial motive. Gardaí have spoken to a teen who is the chief suspect in the killing.

This boy, who is from south Dublin, has claimed that he acted in self-defence when he fatally stabbed Mr Raguragui.

Azzam Raguragui
Azzam Raguragui

A source said the juvenile male presented to gardaí on Saturday with a legal adviser and a prepared statement.

"No arrests have yet been made and a juvenile teen is continuing to assist gardaí with their investigation.

"This is a very sensitive investigation given the young ages of people involved and gardaí will take their time progressing the inquiry to establish exactly what happened," a senior source said.

Gardaí have spoken to a number of people in relation to the murder but are continuing to identify every person who was present on Friday.

Shortly after 8pm the teenage victim received a stab wound. Emergency services were also alerted and he was rushed to St James's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

It is understood that gardaí are continuing to search for the murder weapon and have been carrying out searches in Finsbury Park.

In a tribute to the murder victim, a group called the Moroccan Community in Ireland described it as an "unprovoked attack".

"It is with a heavy heart we have to inform you that our young Moroccan-Irish (aged 18) was stabbed in Dundrum in an unprovoked attack and unfortunately he has died.

"This young man, Azzam Raguragui, was known to be so friendly, helpful and easy-going. We would like to express our most sincere condolences to his family and the whole Irish and Moroccan community for this terrible tragedy," the group said in a Facebook post.

The Irish Sufi Foundation, a unity of Muslims in Ireland, said that Azzam was a "kind" and "courteous" young man who was attacked by "a gang of thugs" on Friday night.

"Just received the devastating and heart-breaking news that our young brother Azzam was set on by a gang of thugs and stabbed to death in a Dundrum park last night.

"Azzam was a kind, courteous, respectful and cheerful young man who always had a smile on his face. He was bright, talented and ambitious with aspirations to become a successful entrepreneur.

"Such a tragic loss. A wonderful young life full of potential cut short," the Irish Sufi Foundation said.

Azzam and his family were members of the local Muslim community. His father Abderrahmane, who is originally from Morocco, moved to Ireland in 2001.

Mr Raguragui, his wife, and their two remaining children were being comforted at their Dundrum home last night. Mr Raguragui is a nursing home worker who in a media interview a few years ago described Ireland as a friendly place.

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