Germany deports Tugce attacker to Serbia

Germany deports Tugce Albayrak attacker to Serbia

A man convicted of a deadly assault on a German-Turkish woman in 2014 has been deported to his native Serbia after serving jail time. The case sparked outrage across Germany, with many hailing the woman as a heroine.

Sanel M., a 20-year-old man who was found guilty in the death of Tugce Albayrak in 2014, was deported back to Serbia on Thursday.

M. was convicted in 2015 for causing grievous bodily harm with fatal consequences after he struck Albayrak, a 22-year-old student, in the head in a McDonald's parking lot in Offenbach.

The assailant served two-and-a-half years in a juvenile detention facility, since he had just only turned 18 at the time of the attack. He was deported to Serbia from Frankfurt airport, authorities in the city of Wiesbaden said.

A court in the German state of Hesse upheld a decision by immigration authorities in March to expel Sanel M. and bar him from Germany for eight years.

Germany | 16.06.2015

Although Sanel M. was born in Offenbach and went to school there, he never received German citizenship. According to his lawyer, the 20-year-old's grandparents still live in Serbia.

The Hesse court found that Sanel M. still posed a danger of committing further offenses if released in Germany and could be expected to act "aggressively and violently" in conflict situations.

"Repeat offenders are a threat to society and if they do not have German citizenship, they have to be deported as quickly as possible," Hesse's Interior Minister, Peter Beuth, told German news agency DPA.


Sanel M. told the court: "I am deeply sorry for what I did"

"Anyone who shows no remorse and no desire to integrate is not welcome in our country and must leave," he added.

Tugce hailed as hero

Albayrak came to the defense of two teenage girls who were being harassed by Sanel M. and some friends in the restroom area of the restaurant on November 15, 2014.

She later encountered Sanel M. again in the parking lot. There, he struck her and she fell to the ground, sustaining severe head injuries. The blow caused her to hit her head on the ground, causing severe head injuries. Albayrak, who was training to become a high school teacher, died in a coma on her 23rd birthday, just days after the attack.

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Over 1,000 people attended her funeral in a wave of sympathy for her. Albayrak was celebrated as a hero in both Germany and Turkey for coming to the aid of the two harassed girls.

During Sanel M.'s trial, it was revealed that the case was not as simple as it had been portrayed in the media. Prosecutor Birgit Lüter said that Albayrak and M. traded heavy insults and provocations before M. hit the young woman.

 "I am deeply sorry for what I did," M. said at the start of his trial. "I can't imagine the pain and suffering I inflicted on her family. I never thought she would die."

In the trial, presiding judge Jens Assling found that M. did not intend to kill Albayrak, but added that "no verdict in the world could in any way make up for the loss" to her family.

rs/msh    (AP, AFP, dpa)

Moving moments of farewell

Pallbearers carried the dark brown coffin with 23-year-old Tugce Albayrak to the mosque in the town of Wächtersbach on Wednesday. She was later buried at a private ceremony in the small German town where she was born.

Shared sadness

Some 1,500 people took part in a memorial to Tugce. Most of them did not personally know the young woman but wanted to show their respect for her and her actions. Tugce died after protecting two girls from a group of men harassing them.

Flowers and tears

Many of the guests at the memorial, which included the state of Hesse's premier and the Turkish ambassador to Germany, brought wreaths as a sign of admiration for Tugce's courageous action.

A private burial

Tugce was born in the town of Bad Soden-Salmünster. It's also where she was buried in a private ceremony on Wednesday.

Courage that inspired the world

Tugce's decision to help two girls turned her into the victim. Italian daily La Stampa called her the "Angel of McDonald's." Turkish media thanked Tugce on their pages, writing "We love you" and commenting on the outpouring of sympathy for Tugce from Germans.

She died because she wanted to help

On Saturday morning, police confirmed the death of the young woman. The people who who had led a her vigil in front of the Offenbach were stunned by grief. Tugce died on her 23rd birthday. She had to pay with her life because she wanted to help others.

Moving candlelight vigil

Around 1,500 mourners gathered in silence in front of the hospital where the young Turkish-born woman died. They laid down flowers and lit candles.

Life support switched off

According to Offenbach police, the student's life-support machine was turned off on Friday night. Tugce's parents, her mother shown here at the window, made the decision after doctors pronounced the young woman as brain dead.

Deeply affected

German President Joachim Gauck and the Hessian state government sent their condolences to Tugce's family. "It is horrible to lose a daughter who had her whole life ahead of her," said Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) and his deputy, Economy Minister Tarek Al-Wazir (Green) .

Quarrel at a fast food restaurant

Two weeks ago, the teaching student at the University of Giessen in western Germany was punched by a young man in front of a fast food restaurant and fell to the ground. As a result, she fell into a coma from which she never awoke. Tugce had been trying to help two threatened girls.

Perpetrator remains silent

The crime was filmed by a CCTV camera. According to the prosecution, in the first interrogation, the alleged perpetrator admitted to the blow. Since then, he has remained silent in custody and is now being investigated for bodily harm resulting in death. The two girls who Tugce tried to protect are still being sought as witnesses.

Great sympathy and solidarity

People who gathered in Offenbach in front of the Sana Clinic held up placards bearing the words "Today we are all Tugce."

Calls for the German Order of Merit

Thousands have turned to social media to express their grief and disbelief. The Facebook page "Tugce zeigte Zivilcourage, zeigen wir ihr unseren Respekt" meaning "Tugce showed courage, we show her our respect" has received more than 125,000 "likes." On Saturday morning an Internet petition demanding Germany's Order of Merit to be awarded to Tugce posthumously, had more than 50,000 signatures.