A 26-year-old Algerian man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of committing a sexual assault in Cologne during the city’s New Year’s celebrations.
The unidentified asylum seeker was arrested at a refugee home in the nearby town of Kerpen over the weekend, Cologne prosecutors said today.
The man is the first person to be held on sexual offence related charges, after a string of assaults in Cologne that sparked a debate about integration in Germany.
Prosecutor’s office spokesman Ulrich Bremer said that a total of 497 women have come forward so far alleging sexual assault, including three rapes.
The suspect in custody is accused of groping a woman and stealing her mobile phone.
A total of 21 people have been charged with non-sexual offences.