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Man who killed student Tugce to be deported to Serbia

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Man who killed student Tugce to be deported to Serbia
A memorial set up for student Tugce Albayrak. Photo: DPA.
16:02 CET+01:00
The ongoing legal battle has come to an end over whether to deport the man who fatally struck a young woman in a case that shook millions across Germany.

Roughly two and a half years after the brutal attack on Tugce Albayrak captured the attention and sympathy of the country, the convicted culprit is set to be sent to Serbia.

The Hesse state Administrative Court announced on Tuesday that Sanel M. could indeed be deported after he appealed against a lower court decision in January.

Sanel M. was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in 2015 for gross bodily harm with fatal consequences after he hit Albayrak in the head, ultimately leading to her death.

Immigration authorities and a lower Wiesbaden court had agreed that the 20-year-old posed a public safety threat should he remain in the country, especially given his disruptive behaviour while in detention.

The higher court decision released on Tuesday agreed that there there was a risk that he could commit further crimes and would fail to readjust in society. Sanel M. will not be able to appeal the decision.

The court further noted that despite the fact that his family lives in Germany, Sanel M. could reasonably be expected to be able to integrate into Serbian life and form new bonds there. The court argued as well that because of his already poor professional prospects in Germany, his career opportunities were equally as uncertain in both countries.

Sanel M.'s case was widely followed across the country, and even garnered the attention of Germany's highest leaders.

In November 2014 Albayrak had confronted Sanel M. in a car park in Offenbach for harassing two young girls inside a McDonald's. Sanel M. struck her across the head, causing her to hit the ground and fall into a coma. The scene was captured on surveillance video and broadcast by national media, bringing greater attention to the attack.

Days later Albayrak's family switched off her life-support system on her 23rd birthday, sparking a wave of sympathy in Germany amid widespread revulsion over the assault.

About 1,000 mourners attended Albayrak's funeral and a mass online petition called for Tugce, as the country came to call her, to be posthumously awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Order of Merit) for her bravery.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called Albayrak a “role model” and President Joachim Gauck said she showed “bravery and civil courage in an exemplary way”.

When Sanel M. will be deported is still unclear. He is currently still serving his sentence at a Wiesbaden youth detention centre. Whether he will be sent to Serbia before or after this sentence is fully served must still be determined by state authorities.

A spokesperson for local immigration authorities said they would “immediately take all the necessary measures for a prompt deportation”.

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