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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.

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.

Tugce-Prozess (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Roessler)

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.

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)

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