The father of murder victim Aya Maasarwe has made a heartfelt plea for “more peace” as the body of the international exchange student is returned to her homeland for burial.
Wiping away tears, Saeed Maasarwe spoke as hundreds gathered at a Dandenong mosque on Monday night for an emotional tribute to the 21-year-old before her final journey to Israel.
“We want to make the world more peace and more safety and more beautiful, and more smile and more forgive each other. This is the message we want to send. This is not me, but Aya,” Mr Maasarwe told reporters.
“I wish all the people see the light and go to the light. Don’t be in the dark. And to think positive.”
The body of the Palestinian Arab of Israeli citizenship was released by the coroner on Monday, for repatriation to Baka al Gharbiyye.
Her family has been desperate to see her body released so they can bury her in line with their Muslim faith.
Ms Maasarwe’s funeral will take place on Wednesday in Israel.
As she makes the journey home, a public vigil will be held in her honour, near where her body was found in suburban Melbourne.
Mourners are invited to pay their respects at the corner of Plenty Road and Main Drive, near the Polaris Shopping Centre, at 6.30pm on Tuesday.
Organiser Kelsey Wilson says visitors will be able to pay tribute and there will be a short reading.
It comes a day after Ms Maasarwe’s alleged murderer faced court for the second time.
Codey Herrmann, 20, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday charged with Ms Maasarwe’s rape and murder.
Ms Maasarwe’s father travelled to Melbourne last week, meeting with police and attending a vigil for his daughter.