2015–16 New Year's Eve sexual assaults in Germany

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During the 2015/2016 New Year's Eve celebrations, there were mass sexual assaults, 24 alleged rapes, and numerous thefts in Germany, mainly in Cologne city center. There were similar incidents at the public celebrations in Hamburg, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Bielefeld and Frankfurt. For all of Germany, police estimated in a document leaked in 2016 that 1,200 women were sexually assaulted and that at least 2,000 men were involved often acting in groups.

Suspects

In July 2016, the Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police) assumed that more than 2,000 men had participated in sexual offences in the New Year's Eve in all Germany,but doubted whether more than the 120 identified so far would ever be identified.

General On 8 January 2016, the German federal police knew the names of 31 suspects of various offenses in the New Year's Eve nationwide, most of them for inflicting physical harm or robbery, none of them was suspected of sexual offenses.

Most of the 120 identified suspects by July 2016 of sexual violence in the New Year's Eve in Germany originated in North Africa

Cologne On 8 January 2016, the Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that 31 suspects of various offenses during the New Year's Eve in Cologne had been identified by name. They were nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, four Syrians, five Iranians, two Germans, an Iraqi, a Serb, and an American.

On 10 January 2016, the Cologne police was investigating against 19 named suspects of various offenses in Cologne in the New Year's Eve,all of them were non-Germans,ten were asylum applicant, nine others presumably illegally in Germany,14 of them were men from Morocco or Algeria.

By mid-February, 73 suspects of various criminal offences during Cologne's New Year's Eve had been identified.They were 30 Moroccans, 27 Algerians, 4 Iraqis, 3 Tunisians, 3 Syrians, 3 Germans, and one each from Libya, Iran and Montenegro.

As of 6 April 2016, the Cologne police had traced 153 suspects in relation to various offenses in the New Year's Eve, 149 of them foreigners, 103 of them from Morocco or Algeria, 68 were asylum applicant, 18 others presumably illegally in Germany, four of these suspects were unaccompanied under aged refugees

In June 2016, the Bundeskriminalamt (German Federal Criminal Police) declared that the majority of the men harassing women on the Cathedral Plaza in Cologne in the NYE had been non-Germans. By November 2016, in 140 cases of alleged sexual offenses in Cologne in the NYE at least one suspect had been identified.

Frankfurt Late January 2016, police in Frankfurt was investigating on ten men suspected of pick pocketing (not directly of sexual violence) in the New Year's Eve near footbridge Eiserner Steg in the city centre, they were all either asylum seeker or refugee.

Eventually though, all criminal procedures in Frankfurt concerning sexual violence in the NYE had to be dismissed due to lack of sufficient substantiated suspicion against specific persons, as was declared in September 2016 by a spokesman of the Staatsanwaltschaft (state attorney).

Düsseldorf By November 2016, in three cases of sexual offenses in the NYE in Düsseldorf criminal proceedings had started.

Bielefeld By November 2016, 15 criminal proceedings had started in Bielefeld over various offenses in the NYE.

Dortmund
By November 2016, five judicial proceedings had started in Dortmund for sexual offences in the New Year's Eve.

Sentencing

In July 2016, it appeared that nationwide, so far, four men had been convicted for sexual violence in the last New Year's Eve in Germany.

Alleged Sex Assaults elsewhere

  • We Are Sthlm 2014, 2015: On the annual music festival for youths in the ages 13 until 19, 'We Are Sthlm' in the Swedish capital Stockholm,in both years 2014 and 2015 the police received reports of sexual harassment from around 15–20 women or girls often younger than 15 years of age. The police did not publicize those reports, but Sveriges Radio did report about them shortly after the festival of August 2015.
  • Finland: According to one Helsinki police chief, after the arrival of 32,000 asylum seekers in Finland during 2015, many from Iraq,until the following New Year's Eve, 14 sexual attacks on streets or in parks in the capital Helsinki occurred, where previously, according to that Helsinki police chief, such incidents never happened in Finland. On Helsinki’s Senate Square (Finland), where 20,000 people had gathered for New Year's Eve 2015–16 celebrations, women had complained to "security personnel" about asylum seekers groping their breasts and unwelcomely kissing them, so the police reported. Three Iraqi asylum seekers were arrested for sexual assaults on that square. In two more sexual assaults, the suspects were also asylum seekers, said the police, and they were taken into custody on the spot. At Helsinki's central railway station, where a crowd of 1000 mostly Iraqi refugees had converged in the New Year's Eve, three sexual assaults were reported to the police.
  • Sweden: In the Swedish city of Kalmar, 15 young women have reported to the police to have been groped by groups of men in New Year's Eve 2015–16. eleven reports of sexual assault were made there Groups of men reportedly encircled women on a crowded square and groped them.The first two identified suspects in Kalmar were asylum-seekers.
  • Switzerland: In Zurich, Switzerland, six women have reported to the police having been surrounded by "dark-skinned men" in the New Year's Eve 2015–16 who robbed, groped and molested them.
  • Austria: In Austria, several sex attacks in the New Year's Eve 2015–16 have been alleged in local news media.One alleged victim of a sex attack in Salzburg retailed to an Austrian newspaper: while walking with her friends in the historic centre of Salzburg, they were attacked by a group of 10–15 men. One man grabbed one of the girls, put her head into headlock in his jacket, cuddled her and licked her face. She had to hit and kick the man to free herself.

Reactions

  • A Member of the German Parliament for the party of CDU, Steffen Bilger, wrote on Twitter in the evening of 4 January 2016, reacting on 'Cologne': "It can't go on like this. Urgently needed: reduction of influx".
  • Ross Douthat, columnist for The New York Times, on 9 January 2016 advised Germany to close its borders for new immigrants for the time being, because:

-- Ordinary Germans don't want the generous immigration policies which led to one million immigrants in 2015; -- immigrants will have difficulties in assimilation;

-- Immigrants will commit violence and terrorism, see the recent attacks in Paris (January 2015 and November 2015), see now 'Cologne';

-- Immigrants in such high numbers could Islamificate Europe

--Many among the large numbers of young immigrated men in Europe and Germany in 2015 hold unacceptable views on women

  • On 12 January 2016, research by online Internet research firm YouGov showed that the percentage of Germans who consider the number of asylum seekers in Germany "too high" had sharply risen from 53% in November 2015 to 62% in the period 8–11 January 2016
  • The German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 9 January 2016 promised tougher action and measures against criminals of foreign nationality, and on 11 January she reacted on the sex attacks saying: "Refugees are coming to Europe and we are vulnerable, as we see (…)".
  • In a press conference in the afternoon of 5 January 2016, Cologne's mayor Henriette Reker (nonpartisan politician) – who herself had been attacked with a knife and gravely wounded 2½ months earlier after being asked how women could protect themselves from assaults like in the New Year's Eve, answered that women should keep "an arm's length distance" from people with whom they don't have a confidential relation. She got backlash for being accused of victim blaming.
  • In the evening of 5 January 2016, between 200 and 300 mostly women protested outside the Cologne Cathedral, demanding respect for women and action from Chancellor Angela Merkel.On 9 January, a second demonstration or flashmob took place, on the forecourt and steps of the Cologne cathedral, against "violence against women", by at least a thousand men and women.
  • On 13 January, 22 German feminists in an open letter pleaded that the anger after the Cologne incidents should not be directed against groups or ethnicities like Muslim, Arab, black, North-African: sexualised violence is omnipresent everyday and not only a problem of 'the others' who are not-white 'non-Germans

Violence against immigrants

On Sunday, 10 January 2016, six Pakistani were attacked in the city of Cologne by around 20 people, two of the Pakistani briefly needed treatment in a hospital.Five people that same night attacked one Syrian man in Cologne who also was injured.Also three Guinean men were attacked.According to the British paper The Daily Telegraph, "a group of thugs" in Cologne was planning a "manhunt" for asylum seekers.

Update on The Law of Sexual Violence

In July 2016, partly in reaction to the sex attacks in Cologne in the 2016 New Year's Eve, the Bundestag (German Parliament) with huge majority passed a new law, classifying groping as a sex crime, clarifying that "No means No" even if a victim does not fight back.This new law also makes it easier to deport a migrant after committing a sex offense.

Trivia

  • This event helped create the term "rapefugee"
  • It was speculated that the assaults in Cologne were organized. Police said that some perpetrators used social media to meet for New Year's Eve celebrations,but Ralf Jäger, Minister of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia, said there was "so far no evidence that the perpetrators had arranged the assaults before New Year's Eve".
  • Immediately after the 4 January 2016 reports about Cologne, sales to women of pepper spray for self-defense exploded in Germany

Videos

File:The 2015 New Years Eve Attacks in -Cologne (-Köln)
Sargon of Akkad's video on The Cologne Rapes