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

  • Teen charged after classmate's dismembered body found near river

    World News Toronto Sun
    LAWRENCE, Mass. — A 16-year-old has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of his 16-year-old classmate whose headless body was found near the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said Mathew Borges was arrested Saturday morning. Source
  • Buzz Aldrin: Altitude sickness forced South Pole evacuation

    World News Toronto Sun
    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Buzz Aldrin said he was evacuated from the South Pole last week because he became short of breath and began showing signs of altitude sickness. The 86-year-old adventurer, who was the second man to walk on the moon, released details on Sunday of his dramatic medical evacuation from Antarctica. Source
  • Oakland warehouse gutted by blaze was Bohemian art space

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- The warehouse gutted by a blaze that killed at least nine people was home to musicians, painters, woodworkers, dancers and other artists who came together to make art and hold dance performances and parties. Source
  • Architect Frank Gehry 'very worried' about Donald Trump

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Frank Gehry was recently honoured by Barack Obama at the White House, but the celebrated Canadian-born architect isn't too thrilled with the man next in line for the U.S. presidency: Donald Trump. Less than two weeks after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- America's highest civilian honour -- the California-based Gehry was back in his hometown of Toronto on Saturday for a discussion about his life and work. Source
  • Deliberations by Texas jury prompts missing person report

    World News Toronto Sun
    WACO, Texas — One juror in a Central Texas robbery trial apparently forgot to tell her family she’d be working late deliberating in the case, prompting relatives to file a missing person report. The juror had been working late Thursday evening with fellow jurors in the McLennan County Courthouse and apparently had failed to let her family know about it, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported Saturday. Source
  • At least 9 dead in fire at Oakland, Calif., warehouse party [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    OAKLAND, Calif. — At least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to fire officials. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning. Source
  • Jill Stein's Green Party drops Pennsylvania recount bid

    World News CBC News
    The Green Party is dropping its court case seeking a statewide recount of Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election. It had wanted to explore whether voting machines and systems had been hacked and the election result manipulated. Source
  • Landlord caught on video having sex in tenant's bed; Charged with trespassing

    World News Toronto Sun
    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A Colorado landlord faces a felony trespassing charge after a renter with a video security system caught the man having sex in his apartment. An arrest warrant has been issued for Carlos Quijada of Colorado Springs. Source
  • Medicine Hat family pleads for their baby's stolen ashes to be returned

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Months after the tragic loss of their baby, they still carry him wherever they go. But now the Medicine Hat family is pleading for the return of their baby's ashes, stolen from a Calgary hotel where Nathan and Laura Hudson were staying while in town for a ceremony to honour their child's death. Source
  • California cops use ’fake news’ in sting

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Police investigating a notorious gang in a city on California’s central coast issued a fake press release that the chief credited with saving two men by deceiving gang members who wanted to kill them, but the ruse was criticized by news organizations who reported it as fact. Source