Published: 08 December 2016 Thursday, 07:09 AM
Bonn, Dec 07 (deutschenews24.de/dpa) -- Nearly half of criminal investigations launched after assaults against women during New Year`s Eve celebrations in the German city of Cologne have been suspended due to a lack of evidence or because the suspects cannot be found, prosecutors said Wednesday.
According to the Cologne prosecutor`s office, 124 of the 267 investigations based on accusations of theft, sexual assault and rape have been suspended - 80 because investigators concluded there was a lack of evidence and 29 because the suspects cannot be identified or found.
More than 1,200 complaints have been made to police and prosecutors in the wake of the New Year`s Eve crimes, and most of the suspects have been described as men of North African or Arab descent. Of those, just over 500 were accusations of sexual assault.
The attacks sparked a debate in Germany about how to deal with asylum seekers found guilty of crimes while casting doubt on the country`s ability to integrate the 890,000 million migrants who arrived in 2015.
The prosecutor`s office said Wednesday that 35 people had been charged thus far as a result of the investigations. Of those, 24 have been convicted.
In April, a 21-year-old Algerian man was handed a one-year prison sentence, making him the first person to get jail time for a crime committed on the night.