Forgive riot attackers pleads injured Malaysian student


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The Independent Online

The Malaysian student robbed by two thugs posing as Good Samaritans during the London riots today said he does not bear a grudge towards his attackers and people should forgive them.

Ashraf Rossli, 21, had been in Britain for a month when he was knocked to the ground, his jaw broken and his bicycle stolen on a flyover in Barking during the unrest on August 8 last year.

Moments later, John Kafunda, 22, was caught on camera lifting him up and appearing to shepherd him from trouble.

However, within seconds he and Reece Donovan, 22, began rifling through Mr Rossli's rucksack as the victim's back was to them and robbed him of a PSP games console and 10 games worth £500.

The duo were caught after the footage was posted on YouTube and broadcast on news channels around the world.

The men were unanimously convicted of robbery and violent disorder by a jury at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday.

Donovan was also convicted of theft and burgling a Tesco store.

During another trial in February, Mr Rossli said he was cycling to keep a frightened female friend company when he was attacked.

Speaking at the Malaysian High Commission in central London today, the slim-built student said he barely remembers what happened and just wants to get on with his life.

"I am not angry. The only thing I think about it is that I want to go on with my life. My jaw is healed now so there is no point worrying about them," he said.

"When you make some mistakes it is best to be punished but I want people to forgive them because when you put yourself in that situation you don't want to be judged by the same mistake your whole life.

"People make mistakes, so forgive them."

However, when asked if he wanted to see them behind bars he said: "If that's the possible outcome then yeah."

He added: "I believe in the British judicial system, I believe in the judge and the decision made. It's fair enough."

The accountancy student, who now has metal plates in his jaw, said he was grateful for all the support he had received, including from the British Government and his own government, as well as the numerous letters from well-wishers.

He said the experience had not made him think less of the UK and he is no longer afraid of being in crowds here, although he no longer cycles around the capital.

"There are a lot of people that don't want bad things, they want peace and harmony. There are people that are nice and people that are bad and they are a minority.

"The only thing that concerned me was that I wanted somebody to fix my jaw. Now that it is all healed I don't have any grudge on (the attackers) whatsoever. I feel nothing.

"I'm planning to stay here to work. Probably after I finish my class in 2013 I have to find a job and settle down.

"My family want me to go home because as parents they have concerns for me but I prefer to stay here because I like living here."

High Commissioner Zakaria Sulong said he was not sure what kind of punishment people would get for a similar crime in Malaysia but said: "If I read in a newspaper of a Good Samaritan pretending to help and then robbing someone of their belongings that is really unethical but it can happen anywhere."

He said Mr Rossli was a credit to his country, adding: "He continued with his studies not long after it happened. He is so committed."

Beau Isagba, 17, of Ilford, was convicted of punching the 5ft 4in student in the face, smashing his jaw and cycling off with his bicycle.

He will be sentenced on March 9, the day after his 18th birthday.

Kafunda and Donovan will be sentenced on March 13. The maximum sentence for robbery is life in prison.