Deportations possible in Cologne sexual assaults, German justice minister says

COLOGNE, Germany -- Asylum-seekers could be deported if they're found to have participated in a string of New Year's sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany's justice minister said Thursday.

See Full Article

Police say witnesses have described the perpetrators as being of "Arab or North African origin," but there's little solid information so far on who committed the assaults. That has been seized on by some opponents of Germany's welcoming stance toward those fleeing conflict after the country registered nearly 1.1 million asylum-seekers last year.

Officials have cautioned it's important not to cast suspicion on refugees in general. Still, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with the Funke newspaper group that "deportations would certainly be conceivable."

He said the law allows for people to be deported during asylum proceedings if they're sentenced to a year or more in prison.

"The courts will have to decide on the level of sentences, but that penalty is in principle absolutely possible for sexual offences," he said.

Police said Thursday they have now received 121 criminal complaints alleging sexual assault and robbery during the New Year's Eve festivities. That includes two accounts of rape.

They said investigators working with video footage have identified 16 young men -- largely of North African origin -- who may be suspects and are working to determine whether they committed any crimes. Authorities don't yet have names for most of the men.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Wednesday that "anyone who commits serious crimes, whatever status he is in, must reckon with being deported from Germany."

"If it turns out that refugees were the perpetrators, then they forfeited their right to be guests," Andreas Scheuer, the general secretary of the conservative Christian Social Union -- the smallest party in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government -- was quoted as telling the daily Bild.

Police have faced criticism for their response, and German media reported Thursday on an internal police report that suggested officers were overwhelmed by the situation on New Year's Eve.

Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers said he is reporting to the regional government on what happened, and won't publicly give further details before a meeting Monday of the state legislature's home affairs committee.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump's 'big, beautiful' border wall faces many roadblocks

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has now laid out exactly what he wants in the "big, beautiful wall" that he's promised to build on the U.S.-Mexico border. But his effort to build a huge hurdle to those entering the U.S. Source
  • German minister 'speechless' over Erdogan rhetoric

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- A senior German official says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rhetoric in the standoff with European countries ahead of his country's April 16 referendum is causing damage that will take years to repair. Source
  • Russian opposition leader arrested amid wave of corruption protests

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Thousands of people crowded into Moscow's Pushkin Square on Sunday for an unsanctioned protest against the Russian government, part of a wave of demonstrations taking place throughout the country. Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is leading the opposition to President Vladimir Putin, was arrested while walking from a nearby subway station to the demonstration, according to Associated Press journalists at the scene. Source
  • Syrian opposition urges U.S. to spare Raqqa civilians

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- A leading Syrian opposition group is calling on the U.S.-led coalition to stop targeting residential areas in and around Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital. The Syrian National Coalition says it is "increasingly concerned" about civilian casualties in the campaign against the extremist group. Source
  • China-friendly Carrie Lam chosen as Hong Kong leader

    World News CTV News
    HONG KONG -- The candidate favoured by China's Communist leadership was chosen as Hong Kong's new leader on Sunday, in the first such vote since huge pro-democracy protests erupted over the semiautonomous Chinese city's election system in 2014. Source
  • Cincinnati, Ohio nightclub shooting leaves 1 dead, 14 wounded

    World News CBC News
    Fifteen people were shot, one fatally, at a packed nightclub in Cincinnati, Ohio, early on Sunday. The shooting took place around 1 a.m. when hundreds of people were reported to be at the Cameo Nightlife club, which the Cincinnati Police Department said has had "multiple problems" in the past. Source
  • Dozens detained in anti-corruption protests across Russia

    World News CBC News
    Several dozen people were detained in protests across Russia on Sunday, after the opposition urged people to take to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on his website that more than 80 towns and cities across Russia would hold protests on Sunday and that authorities had not sanctioned the majority of the rallies. Source
  • Grenade attack leaves 4 dead, many wounded in Philippines

    World News CTV News
    JOLO, Philippines -- At least four people were killed and 23 others wounded in a grenade attack in the southern Philippines that appears to be unrelated to terrorism, officials said Sunday. Army Col. Cirilito Sobejana said the attacker was arrested following the late Saturday grenade blast in Busbus village near the domestic airport in Sulu province's Jolo town. Source
  • 1 dead, 14 injured in Cincinnati nightclub shooting

    World News CTV News
    CINCINNATI -- At least two people opened fire inside a crowded nightclub early Sunday morning, killing one person and wounding more than a dozen others in what authorities described as a chaotic scene. It was not clear what prompted the shooting at the Cameo club about 1:30 a.m. Source
  • Encrypted social media 'secret place for terrorists' to communicate, U.K. minister says

    World News CBC News
    British interior minister Amber Rudd said on Sunday end-to-end encryption of messages offered by services like Whatsapp are "completely unacceptable" and there should be no "secret place for terrorists to communicate." Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge last Wednesday, killing four people and wounding several others. Source