Body of slain Israeli woman released by Australian coroner

Body of slain Israeli woman released by Australian coroner

Funeral for Aiia Maasarwe, who was brutally raped and murdered in Melbourne, slated for Wednesday in her northern Israel hometown

Aiia Maasarwe pictured in a Melbourne cafe, October 1, 2018. (Instagram)
Aiia Maasarwe pictured in a Melbourne cafe, October 1, 2018. (Instagram)

The body of an Arab-Israeli woman who was brutally raped and murdered last week in Melbourne, Australia, was released by the Coroner’s Court of Victoria to begin the trip home for burial, the Age reported Monday.

Hebrew media reports said the funeral for Aiia Maasarwe is expected to be held on Wednesday in her hometown of Baqa al-Gharbiya in northern Israel.

Hundreds of people attended a weekend rally in Maasarwe’s hometown, with demonstrators accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not doing enough to swiftly return her body. Netanyahu also serves as Israel’s foreign minister.

Her alleged attacker, Codey Herrmann, is to remain in custody until his next court appearance, which was set for June 7.

According to the Age report, police asked that details of the alleged rape be kept out of court documents until the Masaarwe’s family are first given the information.

People attend a vigil in memory of murdered Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne on January 18, 2019. (Allan LEE / AFP)

“It would be very confronting for the family to be made aware of those specific allegations through the media reports,” Magistrate Jon Klestadt said during the session, according to the report.

Police also still need to obtain an official statement from Masaarwe’s sister, who was speaking with her on the phone when the attack happened.

Police told the court it will take them 12 weeks to put together all of the evidence against Herrmann, some of which includes video footage.

A request for a DNA sample from Herrmann was withdrawn, the report said.

Maasarwe, 21, was killed Wednesday in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora. Her body was found in nearby bushes hours later. She was studying at La Trobe University in Melbourne for the previous five months as an exchange student from Shanghai University in China.

Herrmann, a 20-year-old aspiring rapper who performs as MC Codez, was arrested two days later and arraigned Saturday at the Melbourne Magistrates Court, where he was charged with murder and rape. He did not apply for bail.

Codey Herrman, 20, sits in a police car, Friday, January 18, 2019, after he was arrested for questioning over the death of Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne, Australia. (James Ross/AAP Image via AP)

On Sunday thousands of Australians took to the streets in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra to protest against violence against women in the wake of Maasarwe’s death.

During Sunday’s march, campaigners held banners with the words, “I’m here for Aiia” and “Stop violence against women.”

Maasarwe’s father, Saed, who is based in China, on Friday attended a makeshift memorial set up at the spot where his daughter was killed. Maasarwe arrived in Melbourne on Thursday to confirm his daughter’s identity and to bring her home.

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