First man charged for sex attack on New Year's Eve in Cologne

German prosecutors on Thursday laid the first formal sex-related charge against a man linked to the mass assault of women during New Year's Eve celebrations in central Cologne.

The 26-year-old, identified as Algerian, is accused of being one of around 10 men who surrounded and grabbed at a woman as she was walking through the concourse of the western city's central station, a court spokesman said.

The unnamed man stands charged with sexual assault and robbery. No court date has yet been set.

The spokesman said the men had grabbed at the woman's buttocks before the accused man took the woman's mobile phone from her jacket pocket.

More than 1,100 complaints were made to police and prosecutors following the New Year's Eve events in the city, which received international attention.

More than 480 related to a sexual offence, ranging from harassment to rape.

Most of the 120 accused are from Algeria and Morocco. To date there have been three convictions for theft, with suspended sentences handed down.

The New Year's Eve attacks sparked a debate in Germany about how to deal with asylum seekers found guilty of crimes and the country's ability to integrate the 1.1 million migrants who arrived in 2015.

Last update: Thu, 24/03/2016 - 13:50

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