At first, there was complete silence from officials. As rumors spread on social media, police had nothing to say about allegations of mass sexual assaults and other crimes carried out on New Year’s Eve in the German city of Cologne.
It was only days later that officials reported that hundreds of women were victims of assault in Cologne, Hamburg and other German cities.
But numbers that are now emerging are likely to shock a country still coming to terms with what happened in Cologne more than half a year ago. According to a leaked police document, published by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and broadcasters NDR and WDR, the previous estimates have to be dramatically revised — upward.
Authorities now think that on New Year’s Eve, more than 1,200 women were sexually assaulted in various German cities, including more than 600 in Cologne and about 400 in Hamburg.
More than 2,000 men were allegedly involved, and 120 suspects — about half of them foreign nationals who had only recently arrived in Germany — have been identified.
Only four have been convicted, but more trials are underway.
On Thursday, a court in Cologne sentenced two men in the New Year’s Eve assaults. Hussein A., a 21-year-old Iraqi, and Hassan T., a 26-year-old Algerian, were handed suspended one-year sentences. Both arrived in Germany in the past two years, a court spokesman said. He declined to specify whether the two had sought asylum.
SOURCE: Rick Noack
The Washington Press