In a documentary about the mass sex attacks on New Year’s Eve, tax-funded public broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) has portrayed the criminals as white Germans. The piece concluded by saying that the “losers” of the night’s attacks were wrongly-accused migrants, their families and women who were assaulted.
The NDR documentary begun by noting that 400 of the sexual assaults, which took place on New Year’s Eve in Germany this year, happened in Hamburg. Focusing on Hamburg Police’s response to the attacks, it looked at how they were able to investigate the attacks.
This week, an article accompanying the documentary reported that by May six suspects, all migrants, had been arrested. Of these, one man has been acquitted while the others wait on remand.
Consisting of multimedia slides, the documentary focused on three of the cases. The first it showed was that of Tunisian suspect, Adel K. A witness identified him as a suspect, from a photograph of the night, after recognising his distinctive hat.
One of the slides showed a photograph of Adel K. at one point of the evening, in a crowd with several other migrant men. The next slide featured a video of the suspect denying the charges.
It noted that pictures proving Adel K. was at the scene of the crime do not prove he sexually assaulted women. Explaining this, the documentary showed a sketch of Adel K. standing in a crowd, wearing his distinctive hat. It then displayed an artist’s impression of three white youths grabbing a woman while one of the attackers tries to put his hand under her clothes.
The documentary reported a court ruled that this was insufficient evidence to keep Adel K. detained before further trials. Depicting this, the next slide showed Adel K. kissing his papers and leaving court.
The second case highlighted in the documentary is that of Gafhur N., an Afghan man. A witness recognised him from a photograph as having held her down while other men touched her.
A court found there were errors in the investigation.
The documentary reported that police left the alleged victim alone with the pictures, contrary to the proper procedure. Furthermore, it noted, Gafhur N. was more than 10 centimetres shorter than the man described by the alleged victim.
Gafhur N. was detained for four months after the attack before being acquitted. As a result of this, the documentary revealed that he was given €25 compensation per day he was detained.
Several people involved in the case were interviewed for the documentary. Hamburg lawyer Jonas Hennig, who is defending one of the accused, criticised investigators. He said he believed they “just want to introduce anyone as the perpetrator”.
NDR reported that according to official analysis, around 900 sexual offences are believed to have taken place in Germany on New Year’s Eve. It noted that, including thefts, it is likely there were more than 1,200 victims. Only four suspects have so far been convicted while two have been acquitted.
Reflecting on the attacks and the police investigation, the NDR documentary concluded:
“The New Year’s Eve knows many losers — refugees who were arrested, ones who perhaps innocently sat in prison, and their families.
“But most of all — the hundreds of women whose tormentors escape undetected.”