The sister of an Israeli exchange student who was raped and murdered in Melbourne says she doesn’t feel safe visiting the city.
Aiia Maasarwe was on her way home in January 2019 when she was raped and murdered by Codey Herrmann after alighting a tram in Bundoora.
Sister Noor Maasarwe and their father, Saeed Maasarwewere, were excitedly planning a five-day trip to visit her when they heard the tragic news.
Aiia Maasarwe (pictured) was on her way home in January 2019 when she was raped and murdered by Codey Herrmann after alighting a tram in Bundoora
Now, travelling to the city where her sister was killed as the sentencing hearing looms, she says she feels ‘very unsafe’.
‘I still see it in the news that women in Melbourne [are] still getting raped and murdered in the streets. This shouldn’t be happening in the first place,’ she told ABC.
The legacy of Maasarwe murdered in Melbourne lives on, with her father launching a fellowship, while a university scholarship is set up in her honour.
The Aiia Maasarwe Memorial Medical Fellowship Program will provide financial support to Palestinian physicians training in Israeli hospitals.
Aiia’s father launched the program in honour of his 21-year-old daughter in Melbourne on Sunday for the international Project Rozana initiative.
‘I hope we cannot forget Aiia. Aiia all the time, she think positive and think good for everyone,’ he said, in broken English.
Sister Noor Maasarwe (pictured) and their father, Saeed Maasarwewere, were excited for a 5-day trip they had planned to visit Aiia prior to her murder
‘I wish all the people can just remember Aiia for the good thing(s) and the positive and to look every day in the light, not in the dark things.’
The inaugural fellowship has been awarded to senior paediatrician Khadra Salami to complete two-year paediatric bone marrow transplant training program in Jerusalem.
It aims to ensure Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza can access the same level of health care to those living in Israel.
It is hoped $500,000 will be raised by Australians for the ongoing fellowship.
The Victorian Government and La Trobe University also announced a jointly-funded Aiia Maasarwe Scholarship for financially disadvantaged students.
It is open to an undergraduate in any area of study, while the PhD research program would address the safety of women and girls, especially on public transport.
The legacy of international student Aiia Maasarwe murdered in Melbourne lives on with her father (pictured) launching a fellowship, while a university scholarship is set up in her honour
Ms Maasarwe had been a student at La Trobe College Australia.
Labor MP Jacinta Allan said the state government has been working closely with the family to support them through “a really difficult and awful time for them”.
Lighting near the tram stop where Ms Maasarwe alighted before she was killed will be upgraded with more than $240,000 from the state and local governments.
The January 2019 murder of Ms Maasarwe, a Palestinian Arab of Israeli citizenship who had moved to Australia to study, sent shock waves across the country.
Rallies were organised across Australia to show support to the Maasarwe family.
Codey Herrmann has pleaded guilty to beating Ms Maasarwe over the head with a metal pole, sexually assaulting her and setting her on fire in Bundoora.
He is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.
Mr Maasarwe is also in town to see justice served for his daughter.
‘Our compass is not revenge. I hope justice will take these people (sic) far away from the society,’ he said.
The website, rememberingaiia.com, has been launched with projects in her memory.
Codey Herrmann (pictured) has pleaded guilty to beating Ms Maasarwe over the head with a metal pole, sexually assaulting her and setting her on fire in Bundoora