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Trial begins in Germany over deadly assault on Tugce Albayrak

An 18-year-old man accused of having caused bodily harm resulting in death to a young female student has gone on trial in Germany. The case shocked the country and provoked a debate on moral courage.

The trial of the accused, Sanel M., began on Friday in the city of Darmstadt, some five months after Tugce Albayrak died of injuries sustained during an altercation in the car park of a fast-food restaurant in Offenbach.

Sanel M. is

accused of having struck the 22-year-old student with his hand

in such a way that she collapsed and fell into a coma from which she never awakened.

The incident is alleged to have occurred after Tugce Albayrak, a trainee teacher, intervened in an argument between the accused and two young girls in November.

People holding banners reading Tugce,I hae not forgotten youREUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

The case has prompted outpourings of support and sympathy

The case has provoked

widespread attention in Germany

partly because of the

moral courage

demonstrated by Tugce Albayrak in going to the aid of the two girls.

Her parents took the decision to allow doctors to remove her life support 13 days after the attack - on her 23rd birthday.

The juvenile court has scheduled ten days for the trial, which will be attended by the parents of the dead woman as joint plaintiffs. Two of the altogether 60 witnesses are to be heard on the first day, along with Tugce Albayrak's father.

tj/kms (epd, AFP, dpa)

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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