Student gets killed after defending 2 girls from catcalls

2014-12-01 14:48
A screen grab of Tugce Albayrak. (YouTube)

A screen grab of Tugce Albayrak. (YouTube)

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Berlin - A newly published surveillance video on Monday showed the fatal attack on a young woman after she defended two teenage girls from male harassment, a death that has been mourned with candlelight vigils across Germany.

Daily paper Bild published the video on its website, calling on witnesses, including the teenage girls, to come forward with more information about the attack on the night of 15 November in front of a fast-food restaurant in Offenbach in central Germany.

Tugce Albayrak died on Friday, her 23rd birthday, after her family gave doctors permission to switch off her life support.

She had been in a coma after reportedly being struck in the head.

Pictures of the pretty woman with long black hair and dark eyes have been all over television, social media and newspapers in Germany in the two weeks since the attack.

After candlelight vigils attracted hundreds of mourners in Offenbach over the weekend, about 200 people also came together in Berlin on Sunday to commemorate and pray for the young woman.

The incident involving the girls is not on the video, but witnesses reported that Albayrak stepped in to help after becoming aware of the distressed girls.

The surveillance video of the attack in which she is injured shows an enraged man, identified by Bild as 18-year-old Sanel M who is currently in police custody who is several times held back by another young man as he appears to want to run in the direction of Albayrak. Because the incident happened at 04:00, it's dark and many of the people's movements on the video are hard to identify.

At some point, Sanel M appears to hit Albayrak on the head, while the other young man is still trying to protect her and she falls on the ground and stops moving.

An Offenbach police spokesman said on Monday that no further witnesses had come forward since the release of the video.

"We are still hoping that the two teenage girls will get in touch with us", spokesperson Ingbert Zacharias told The Associated Press, adding that an autopsy of Albayrak would be performed Monday to determine the cause of death.

Albayrak, a German-Turkish university student who wanted to become a high school teacher, has been lauded by many as a hero for protecting the teenage girls, and more than 130 000 people have signed an online petition asking the German president to posthumously award her a medal for her courageous behavior.

"I painfully miss my daughter and her smile", Tugce's father Ali told Bild. "We hope that her body will be released [by the authorities] on Monday, so that we can bury her."

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