Police are keeping an “open mind” about whether an attack on an Egyptian student that sparked outrage in her home country was racially motivated.
Social media, the world over, is not; many believe this was ‘a clear act of hate crime and murder due to Mariam’s race and religion’.
Mariam Moustafa, 18, died on 14 March after being attacked by a group in Nottingham three weeks earlier. She was ‘a well-liked and able’ engineering student at Nottingham College.
The hashtag “Mariam’s rights will not be lost” has been trending in Egypt.
Egypt’s prosecutor-general has requested information about the probe into her death by British officials.
The Egyptian Embassy in the UK said it had been “closely following” the circumstances of the “vicious attack”. It “expressed the need for those responsible to be brought to justice swiftly” with UK authorities.
“The deep concern of the Egyptian public is evident, and the embassy remains focussed in its efforts to support and assist Mariam’s grieving family whose life has been shattered by their traumatic loss,” the statement added.
Nottinghamshire Police said: “At this time, from our investigation, there is no information to suggest that the assault was motivated by hate but we continue to keep an open mind.”
A 17-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and was released on conditional bail.
Beaten into a coma
Miss Moustafa’s uncle told the BBC he believed a group of about 10 girls had started beating his niece before she ran to get on a bus.
He said the girls kept beating her until she passed out and a man intervened to help.
Her younger sister, Mallak Moustafa, said her sibling told her how the attack unfolded before she went into a coma.
“My sister couldn’t see as she’d been hit in the head but then as soon as she saw our bus coming, she ran to it, trying to get on it,” she said.
“She got on to the bus, she didn’t think they’d all pay £1 to get on but they went up to her when she’d sat down and said they weren’t finished with her.
“Then the girls kept saying punch her more, punch her more. Then she couldn’t see what was going on.”
Middle East Eye quoted Mariam’s father, Hatem Abdel Salam, as saying that the family had received no support from the British authorities or police.
“It’s been nearly 20 days and the girls who were involved in the assault haven’t been arrested,” it quoted him as saying. “The British police haven’t given me any details about what happened nor has the hospital provided us a single report.”