Man charged with murder of Israeli exchange student in Melbourne

Maasarwe, 21, an international exchange student, was killed when walking home after a night out with friends in Melbourne earlier this week.

By REUTERS,
January 19, 2019 10:56
1 minute read.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the INPEX Gala Dinner in Darwin, Australia N

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the INPEX Gala Dinner in Darwin, Australia November 16, 2018. (photo credit: DAVID MOIR/POOL VIA REUTERS)

 
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A 20-year-old man was charged on Saturday with the murder of Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne amid an outrage over violence against women in Australia’s second-largest city.

Maasarwe, 21, was killed when walking home after a night out with friends in Melbourne earlier this week, with the police arresting the suspect on Friday.
The police would not name the suspect but local media identified him as an aspiring songwriter and rapper and a squatter. He appeared in court on Saturday and did not apply for bail. He has been remanded in custody to re-appear in court on Monday.


Maasarwe’s death recharged outrage over violence against women after 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon was killed in Melbourne while walking home after performing at a comedy show in June.


Thousands of people gathered at vigils for Maasarwe on Friday and they continued to lay flowers at the site of her death. A special tram carrying only flowers late on Friday followed the route of Maasarwe’s final journey.


Maasarwe’s father, Saeed Maasarwe, participated in a vigil for his daughter on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.


Saeed told reporters that he had many dreams of being with his daughter, but someone decided to cut that time short. He prayed, he said, that she was in paradise.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who visited the site of the murder with his family, said on Twitter that he was to meet with Maasarwe’s father.


“I cannot imagine his loss,” Morrison said.


The Foreign Ministry said that the Australian police were still holding Aiia’s body. The ministry said it was working to secure the release of the young woman’s body so that it could be transferred back to Israel.

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