A German court on Tuesday sentenced an 18-year-old man to three years in prison for killing a German-Turkish woman who had come to the aid of two girls he was harassing. The incident, which occurred last year, ignited a firestorm in Germany over the issue of street harassment.
The defendant, identified only as Sanel M. in line with German privacy laws, testified that he slapped student Tugce Albayrak on Nov. 15 at a fast-food restaurant in Offenbach. Witnesses said she had come to the aid of two girls who were being harassed by the Sanel M. and another man.
The defendant hit Albayrak so hard that she fell into a coma. She died on her 23rd birthday, two weeks after the altercation.
“I am deeply sorry for what I did,” Masovic told the court in April.
“I can’t imagine the pain and suffering I inflicted on her family. I never thought she would die.”
Sanel M. was convicted of causing bodily harm resulting in death, Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency reported. The state court in Darmstadt sentenced him under juvenile law.
The defense had asked for a year’s suspended sentence, but the prosecutor, Birgit Lüter, had asked for three years and three months, reported German news broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
Following her death, Albayrak was hailed a national hero and thousands of Germans, including the Hesse state prime minister, and even the Turkish ambassador, attended her funeral.
Germany's President Joachim Gauck characterized Albayrak as a role model and praised her for showing "exemplary courage and moral fortitude."
Al Jazeera and wire services