02:16 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Lawyer Ruediger Buhr (L) speaks to his client, a 23-year-old Algerian who faces charges of assaults on woman during New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne, at a regional court in Cologne, western Germany, May 6, 2016.

    Cologne Court to Try First Suspect in New Year's Eve Sexual Assaults Case

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    A man of Algerian origin will go before court in Cologne on Friday to face charges of sexual assault and robbery, in what will be the first trial in relation to the New Year’s Eve attacks in the German city, local media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The 26-year-old is accused of sexually groping a woman and stealing her mobile phone as part of a large group of men who attacked women near the city's main train station last December, the public broadcaster ARD said.

    His 23-year-old brother faces the same charges and will stand trial shortly after his elder sibling. Both deny the charges against them.

    Cologne prosecution service received 1,170 complaints following a string of sexual assaults in the city on December 31, 2015, almost half of them for sexual offenses. However, police have only gathered sufficient evidence for one more trial, ARD reported.

    "We have 1,100 hours of video footage but poor lighting conditions and the general confusion at the scene has led to very limited success in the investigation," spokesman for the prosecution service Ulrich Bremer said.

    Dozens of criminal complaints were also filed in Dusseldorf and Bielefeld. A Dusseldorf court heard its only sexual assault case in relation to New Year’s Eve attacks last month, while Bielefeld police had to suspend their investigation after failing to locate the suspect.

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    trial, sexual assault, ARD, Germany, Cologne
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