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'We don't accept the verdict' - parents of teen stabbing victim


Supporters at the protest outside the Criminal Courts of Justice

Supporters at the protest outside the Criminal Courts of Justice

Supporters at the protest outside the Criminal Courts of Justice

The family of a teenager who was stabbed to death in a Dublin park have said that they cannot accept the verdict of manslaughter that his killer was handed down.

They spoke out as family and friends of Dubliner Azzam Raguragui, who was stabbed to death in a Dundrum park last year, held an anti-knife crime demonstration outside the Criminal Courts of Justice on the day the sentencing hearing was adjourned until next month.

Mr Raguragui (18), from Ballinteer in south Dublin, died after being stabbed when a fight broke out between two groups of youths who met in Finsbury Park on May 10 last year in a row over a stolen bicycle.

The boy who killed him denied murder, and was found guilty of manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court last month. He cannot be named because of his age.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday the case was adjourned when the court heard that a probation report and psychological report had not yet been completed.

Mr Raguragui's family were due to give their victim impact statements, but that was adjourned also.

Outside the court building Mr Raguragui's family and friends held posters of Azzam and signs saying 'Choose Life, Drop The Knife', 'Enough Is Enough', 'Put An End To Knife Crime', and 'Justice For Azzam'.

Mr Raguragui's mother Hajiba chanted "Justice for Azzam".

After the juvenile killer was convicted, Mr Raguragui's parents said the manslaughter verdict sends a message to the youth of Ireland that knife crime is nothing serious.

"They killed me twice. Once when they stabbed Azzam, and then again with the manslaughter verdict," said Hajiba.

"How can it be claimed it was self-defence when Azzam ran away after being stabbed the first time? We cannot accept the verdict," said his father Abdul.

"All our life changed, afterwards. It is destroyed. We are in the Republic of Ireland, and we believe in the justice system, and we cannot fault the gardaĆ­, they did a great job bringing all the evidence together and presenting it, but we cannot understand how the jury reached a majority verdict of manslaughter," said Hajiba.

There can be no appeal.

A petition they posted seeking support from the public has been signed by more than 65,000 people.


"Our son is gone, but other children are now in danger. Society is being pushed this way, especially among young people who may think you can do what you want, you are a minor and you will be judged as a minor," said Hajiba.

"One day these things will become normal if there are verdicts like this."

They are thinking of bringing their experience to a European court, even though they know it will not change the outcome in their case.

"We will do it for the new generation, for Irish society, otherwise knife culture grows and more get hurt," said Abdul.

He and Hajiba came to Ireland from Morocco more than 20 years ago, and Azzam and his brother and sister were born and educated here.

"We consider ourselves Irish. We work here, pay our taxes, and make a contribution here. We love Ireland," said Abdul.

The sentencing hearing will resume on November 16.