Israeli Arab student’s body flown home

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Aya Maasarwe: Murdered student's body flown home from Australia

Image copyright Aya Maasarwe / Instagram
Image caption Aya Maasarwe had been studying at Melbourne's La Trobe University

The family of an Israeli Arab student whose murder has shocked Australia have left the nation with her body, hours after her father gave a moving tribute.

Aya Maasarwe, 21, died in Melbourne last week. Police have since charged a man with her rape and murder.

Ms Maasarwe's death has led to much public anger, and renewed debate about women's safety in Australia.

Her father, Saeed Maasarwe, said his daughter had taught him "to see the light in the dark".

He and other relatives travelled to Australia last week, where they attended vigils in Melbourne alongside thousands of mourners.

The family left Melbourne on Tuesday with several tributes from members of the public, local media reported. Ms Maasarwe's funeral is expected to take place on Wednesday.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Saeed Maasarwe travelled to Australia after his daughter's killing

Speaking through tears on Monday, Mr Maasarwe said he wanted to honour his daughter's life and positivity, as he urged the world to become more safe.

"Look in the stars just to see the light in the dark. This I studied from Aya, not from me," he told reporters.

"I wish all the people see the light and go to the light. Don't be in the dark."

He added: "We want to make the world more peace, more safety, more beautiful and more smiles."

The family have asked the media to spell her name, Aya – to reflect that she was a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship – and not Aiia, which officials had been using, based on her passport.

Mr Maasarwe's words drew many messages of support from the public.

Skip Twitter post by @PrincessMattie1

The grace and dignity of Saeed Maasarwe, father of Aiia, is humbling. I hope he and his family find peace.

— Mattie (@PrincessMattie1) January 21, 2019

Report

End of Twitter post by @PrincessMattie1

Ms Maasarwe was a student of Chinese and English at a university in Shanghai. She had been on an exchange programme at Melbourne's La Trobe University.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Saaed Maasarwe (centre) spoke at a public vigil for his daughter in Melbourne on Friday

She was attacked at night while speaking to her sister on the phone, authorities said.

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A 20-year-old Australian man, Codey Herrmann, is charged with her murder. He will next face a court hearing in June.

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