• Germany's news in English
Man on trial in Germany for New Year's sex assault
The suspect (middle) in a Düsseldorf court on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Man on trial in Germany for New Year's sex assault

AFP · 11 Apr 2016, 18:16

Published: 11 Apr 2016 18:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Apr 2016 18:16 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The defendant, who entered the Düsseldorf courtroom hiding his face under a blue jacket, allegedly groped a woman while he and some 15 to 20 other men encircled and also assaulted her.

The 18-year-old woman told the court of her panic as the man lifted her skirt to touch her buttocks while feeling countless other hands touching her breasts and genital area in a terrifying mob attack.

She said she later identified the defendant from unrelated television footage screened in a "Spiegel TV" news reportage on pickpockets in the city of Düsseldorf.

Germany was appalled by the wave of sexual assaults and other crimes targeting women on New Year's Eve, mainly in Cologne but also in several other cities including Düsseldorf, where police received 118 criminal complaints.

The Cologne attacks in particular - reportedly committed by men who appeared to be of Middle Eastern or north African origin - heightened public fears about a mass influx of refugees and migrants.

Right-wing populist groups protested against "rape-fugees" and "sex-jihadists" while condemning the arrival of more than one million asylum seekers last year, the majority from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The court heard that the Moroccan man accused of attacking the woman in Düsseldorf also faces separate unspecified assault and property damage charges, and has four previous theft convictions.

Prosecutor Laura De Bruyn said that "the accused and his accomplices encircled and trapped the young woman and repeatedly touched her breasts, her buttocks but also her genital area".

The man had entered Germany in April 2014 when he filed a request for political asylum which was later rejected, but continued to stay in a shelter for asylum seekers, she said.

Story continues below…

"The injured party has said that she was watching a television report in which the defendant gave an interview about a different matter," said De Bruyn.

"She clearly recognized him as the perpetrator and decided to file charges."

Correction: The headline of this story previously incorrectly stated that the man went on trial for a crime in Cologne. In fact, it happened in Düsseldorf. The Local regrets the error.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd