More than 1,200 women were assaulted by a total of more than 2,000 male suspects during the New Year’s Eve attacks in Germany, according to a leaked police document published by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. At least 120 suspects have thus far been identified, according to the leak. Of the suspects, about half were foreign nationals who had only recently arrived in the country.
Officials, among them Holger Münch, president of the German Federal Crime Police force, have connected the spate of sexual assaults with the influx of refugees into the country. Officials have also said, however, that many of the suspects in the assaults had not come from Syria but from countries in North Africa. Münch added that many of the perpetrators of the New Year’s Eve attacks were likely to go unpunished due to lack of CCTV evidence. Only four men have been convicted so far in connection with the attacks — including two men who were handed suspended one-year sentences by a Cologne court on Thursday.
Last week, Germany amended its sexual assault law so that women could file charges if an attack ignores their “discernable contrary will.” The law is also expected to ease the process of deporting refugees if they are convicted of sexual assault — a policy that refugee advocates have criticized as excessively punitive and unrelated to the original intent of the bill. “The debate used to be about ‘no means no,’” said Halina Wawzyniak, a lawmaker from the Left Party. “Now all that is being talked about in social media are foreigners again.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.