Mariam Moustafa: Egyptian teen's Nottingham death sparks anger

Mariam Moustafa
Image caption Mariam Moustafa, 18, was an engineering student at Nottingham College

Police are keeping an "open mind" about whether an attack on an Egyptian student that sparked outrage in her home country was racially motivated.

Mariam Moustafa, 18, died on Wednesday after being attacked by a group in Nottingham three weeks earlier.

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, according to BBC Monitoring.

The Egyptian Embassy said it had been "closely following" the circumstances of the "vicious attack" and had "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."

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A 17-year-old girl was arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and was released on conditional bail.

Passed out

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."

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Media captionMariam Moustafa's sister, Mallak, and father, Muhammad, spoke to the BBC

She added she had seen some of the people involved "laughing about my sister's coma" on Instagram.

"I was shocked and they should be ashamed of themselves," she added.

"We thought England would be our future, be an engineer one day, anything we wanted to be, that's why my dad brought us to England.

"But it seems like it has actually ruined us, we didn't think England was like that."

Miss Moustafa's father, Hatim Moustafa, said: "When Mariam was born, I did my best for her.

"I come here for her future and education, for my daughter, to be engineering but now it is not fair."

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Image caption Police said the attack started in Parliament Street in Nottingham

Nottinghamshire Police said Miss Moustafa was "punched several times" outside the Victoria Centre in Parliament Street at about 20:00 GMT on 20 February.

The force said she then got on a bus but was followed "by the same group of women who were threatening and abusive towards her before they got off".

In a statement, bus company Nottingham City Transport (NCT) said one of its drivers helped Miss Moustafa.

"We would like to publicly recognise our driver, who went upstairs to intervene and acted as a barrier between the attackers and the young lady, after he asked them to leave the bus," NCT said.

"CCTV from the bus has been provided to Nottinghamshire Police as part of their investigation into this appalling attack and we continue to support their efforts to identify the culprits."

Image caption A spokesperson for Nottingham College said Mariam was "well-liked and able"

Miss Moustafa's uncle said the hospital sent her home initially, where she fell ill and was taken back to hospital where she entered into a coma.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust said an initial review "does not indicate any significant untoward incident on the trust's part, however we will fully examine the family's concerns".

'Strong aspirations'

Miss Moustafa was an engineering student at Nottingham College.

Yultan Mellor, a vice principal at the college, said Mariam was "well-liked and able" and had "strong aspirations for her future studies and eventual career".

Her best friend, Mariam Jankeh John, said she was "loving, cheerful, fashionable and intelligent".

"I can't imagine someone as friendly, calm and cheerful as Mariam can be a victim," she said.

The statement released by the Egyptian Embassy added: "The consul general of Egypt and the medical counsellor, as well as a representative from the embassy, were immediately dispatched to offer support and assistance to the family at this devastating time.

"They were briefed by the family's lawyer on the latest medical and legal developments."

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