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Prosecutor calls for jail in trial of Tugce accused

The prosecutor in the case of a young student who died after being assaulted in Offenbach last year has called for the perpetrator to serve jail time. It comes as the trial against the accused draws to a close.

Prosecutor Birgit Lüter told a court in the western German city of Darmstadt on Friday that the accused, Sanel M., deserved a prison sentence of three years and three months for the death of 22-year-old Tugce Albayrak. She said the 18-year-old, who was 17 at the time, bore "considerable guilt" for the November attack in which he is

accused of hitting Tugce Albayrak, causing her to fall

. She died of a brain hemorrhage several days later.

The defense called for a suspended sentence of one year in juvenile detention.

The court is hearing the closing arguments in the trial of the alleged perpetrator, who is charged with causing grievous bodily harm leading to death. The sentence can carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. Lüter said the case was complicated as insults and provocations had come from both parties involved, and suggested the young man take part in "empathy training" while in custody. The defense called for him to be given a suspended juvenile sentence, and be released on probation.

The circumstances surrounding Tugce's death prompted

an outpouring of grief

from across Germany. Witnesses described the young woman coming to the aid of a group of girls which Sanel M. and his friends had been harassing in a fast food restaurant. They later again encountered Tugce in the parking lot, where a verbal argument escalated into the man allegedly striking Tugce before she fell to the ground.

Pictures of Tugce

Thousands have expressed their sadness over Tugce's death

She was taken off life support and died on her 23rd birthday on November 28.

Case not 'black and white'

The trial,

which began in April of this year

, has heard from around 60 witnesses, but still "many points are unexplained." Attorney General Alexander Homm criticized the media's portrayal of all those involved, as it was not as simple as "black and white." He said he would not like to be in the accused's position when he leaves custody.

Macit Karaahmetoglu, a lawyer for Tugce's family, said Sanel M. had colluded to get back at the Turkish-German student and her friends, culminating in hitting her. He said his confession was motivated by tactics, and not remorse, and said he doubted the proposed sentence would be sufficient.

The accused told the court Tugce's death was the "worst mistake" of his life. "I can only say sorry," he said, "I can never make it right."

The verdict is scheduled to be handed down next Tuesday, June 16.

an/msh (dpa, epd, AFPD)

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