Did German police cover up refugee involvement in Cologne sex attacks on NYE? [New Year's Eve]
By ALLAN HALL
PUBLISHED: 00:00, Fri, Jan 8, 2016 | UPDATED: 10:06, Fri, Jan 8, 2016
QUESTIONS have been raised over whether police lied about refugee involvement in the New Year's Eve sex attacks which took place in Cologne.
A police report dated January 2 said: "Among the identity checks that were carried out, the majority of people were only able to produce evidence of registration as an asylum seeker from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees [BAMF]."
This is opposed to what police chief Wolfgang Albers and Mayor Henritte Reker claimed in the days following the attacks, when the line was that there was NO evidence of refugees being involved in the sexual violence and thefts.
Top daily newspaper Bild said: "Were the public lied to? Were important facts simply swept under the carpet?"
Albers is now under intense pressure to quit his post as the hunt for suspects continues but with no arrests so far.
In today's edition, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper alleged that police leaders had deliberately kept the identity of those behind the sexual assaults a secret in order no to inflame public anger.
Germany's social fabric has been stretched increasingly thin in recent months as over one million asylum seekers have been allowed into the country.
They have been subject to violent attacks and their shelters burned by violent right-wing extremists.
It is now widely thought that Cologne authorities did not want to inflame an already tense situation by reporting that many migrants were among the 1000 strong horde of Arabic and north-African looking men who made up the Cologne revellers crowd on December 31.
Across the political spectrum, politicians are latching on to growing public disquiet by proposing tougher police action and new laws dealing with sexual harassment.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said: "We must do everything so that such events never happen again."
A draft policy paper from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) suggested that police be allowed to stop and search people without suspicion in times of "serious danger for public security and order".
Meanwhile, the draft calls for asylum seekers and refugees to lose their right to asylum if they are convicted of a crime.
Vice-Chancellor and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Sigmar Gabriel told Bild said: "All the possibilities of international law" must be examined "to send criminal asylum seekers back home."
He added: "Why should German taxpayers pay for foreign criminals' jail time?"