The first migrant convicted of sex offences in Cologne on New Year’s Eve has received a suspended sentence and laughed at the court as he walked free.
Six months after the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, German courts have finally sentenced a pair of men in connection with the crimes. The court in Cologne ruled Thursday that two men had sexually assaulted at least one woman on the night where women in Cologne had reported over 1000 cases of sexual assault and rape. The men, 21-year-old Iraqi migrant Hussein A. and a 26-year-old Algerian named Hassan T. were found guilty of aiding and abetting sexual assault and sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence allowing them to walk free from the court, the German Express reports.
According to the prosecution in the case the pair are said to have harassed girls who passed by them with Hussein A. being accused of trying to force himself on a woman, kissing her and licking her face outside of the Cologne cathedral where the majority of the sexual attacks took place.
Algerian Hassan T. is said to have made threatening gestures toward the young women and directly threatened two girls saying to them in broken English, “Give me the girl, give the girls – or death,” which the court considered an act of direct coercion.
According to one of the victims, a 27-year-old German woman, the men had taken photos with her and her friends outside of the cathedral and had then separated the women from each other, attempted to rob them and sexually assault them. The witness claimed that not only did the Iraqi lick her face but also touched her buttocks and genitals. While the court ruled for the sexual assault claims, they could find no evidence of attempted robbery.
The court heard further testimony that the men were a part of a group of around 20 young migrant males, though so far police have made little headway in locating an arresting the members of the group.
The judge in the case was clear in his ruling that he deemed the actions of the pair to have violated the women saying, “we see this as sexual assault.”
While the young Iraqi did express remorse after hearing the verdict saying via a translator, “I apologize for the things that have happened,” the Algerian Hassan T. showed the opposite of remorse when he left the courtroom as he laughed and smiled upon being set free on his one year suspended sentence.
The light sentences are unlikely to improve public perception of the justice system in Cologne. Many have accused the police in the city of covering up details of the crimes which has led more and more young people to adopt strong conservative views. Some even blame the handling of the Cologne sex attacks for the rapid rise in popularity of the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party who have risen to be the third most popular party in many areas of the country.