09
Fri, Dec

Mass funeral for brave German woman

Thousands of people in Germany yesterday attended the funeral of a young woman who was killed defending two girls from harassment.

Silent vigils were held for 23-year-old Tugce Albayrak since she died on Friday.

Some 3,000 people including the Turkish ambassador were at the memorial service near Frankfurt yesterday.

A man, 18, remains in custody over the November 15 attack.

The funeral began at a mosque in Waechtersbach in the state of Hesse, before Ms Albayrak's body was taken for burial in her birthplace nearby.

The minister-president of Hesse, Volker Bouffier, also attended her memorial service.

The death of the student teacher has shocked Germany.

Ms Albayrak intervened when she heard cries for help from the toilet of a fast food restaurant in the town of Offenbach, near Frankfurt, where two girls were being harassed, German media report.

She was left in a coma after one of the men returned and attacked her in the car park.

The Bild newspaper published CCTV footage of the incident on Monday.

A man is seen trying to restrain the suspect, named only as Senal M, before he throws the fatal punch which leaves Ms Albayrak lying flat on the ground, motionless among a group of people. The student teacher was in a coma for two weeks before doctors said she would never regain consciousness and was brain dead.

Her parents switched off her life support on her 23rd birthday.

Ms Albayrak's actions have been praised by Germany's President Joachim Gauck who called her a role model and said she had shown "exemplary courage and moral fortitude". — BBC

A petition calling for Ms Albayrak, an ethnic Turk, to be awarded the national order for merit posthumously has gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

Confirming he would consider the award, President Gauck wrote to her family to say: "Like countless citizens, I am shocked and appalled by this terrible act. Tugce has earned gratitude and respect from us all."