Outrage, calls for women's safety after Melbourne murder

A man accused of killing international student Aiia Maasarwe in Melbourne has returned to court for a brief hearing.

Codey Herrmann (20) didn't speak in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday, when he made his second appearance since being charged with rape and murder over the January 16 attack.

Prosecutors requested specific details of the attack on the Palestinian Arab of Israeli citizenship be withheld from the public until police have given them to the 21-year-old's family.

Meanwhile, a vigil is planned for Maasarwe, in which people will line up along the Melbourne thoroughfare that would have been her walk home.

Organiser Kelsey Wilson said the death had hit close to home and a vigil was planned on Tuesday at the Bundoora site where her body was found, pending police and council approval.

"The death of Aiia Maasarwe has really just hit so many people so hard especially in this area," Ms Wilson told the Nine Network on Monday.

"A lot of us walk through this area and in the surrounding suburbs late at night alone.

"One of my friends said to me, 'It really is a lottery now'. It should be guaranteed safety, but it is a lottery when you are walking home now."

The vigil planned for Tuesday comes after several thousand people marched through major Australia cities on Sunday calling for safety for women. 

The marches, part of the Women's March rallies held around the world in support of women's rights, gathered some 3000 people in Sydney, who in their chants demanded safe streets for women in Australian cities.

Maasarwe's death has recharged outrage over violence against women after 22-year-old Eurydice Dixon was killed in Melbourne while walking home after performing at a comedy show in June.

Thousands of people gathered at vigils for Maasarwe on Friday and continued to lay flowers at the site of her death. A special tram carrying only flowers late on Friday followed the route of Maasarwe's final journey.

In Sydney on Sunday marchers held signs paying tribute to Maasarwe and other victims of violence. Television news showed women carrying signs: "For Aiia and for those who suffer silently" and "I wanna walk through the park in the dark".

The Victorian coroner is due to give Ms Maasarwe's body to a funeral director on Monday afternoon for repatriation, AAP was told on Sunday.

Her father Saeed reportedly told mourners at a tribute on Sunday he was awaiting the release of the body so it could be taken home.

Ms Maasarwe had alighted a tram in Bundoora moments before she was attacked and her body was found near a shopping centre about 7am on January 16.

Ms Kelsey says organisers are planning a vigil at her memorial, which is overflowing with floral tributes, and there will be a line-up along Main Drive, which would have been Ms Maasarwe's walk home.

"It should be all men and women who are standing up for this and showing this isn't okay. If you see someone doing something that's not really respectful, say something," she said.

 - additional reporting Reuters


Add a Comment