A Libyan asylum-seeker has been sentenced to a prison term for grabbing the buttocks of a German woman against her will.
According to the report of the German press agency, DPA, the man was the first to be convicted for such a crime since the tightening of the sexual harassment law in Germany.
The 27-year-old Libyan was sentenced to a four-month imprisonment without option of fine last Wednesday by a jury in Bautzen, in the eastern state of Saxony. He was convicted for grabbing a 34-year-old woman’s buttocks three times against her will on a public street.
“It may be the first conviction Germany-wide under the new regulation,” said Judge Dirk Hertle.
Paragraph 184i, dealing with sexual harassment in the criminal code, was introduced after the incidents in front of Cologne Cathedral on New Year’s Eve 2015, when hundreds of women reported that young men from North Africa sexually assaulted or robbed them.
The new paragraph became law in November 2016 and two weeks later, the crime in Bautzen took place, said Hertle.
“The faith in the constitutional state will only be strengthened if we consistently punish these sorts of crimes,” he added.
The defendant denied the charge in court, stating that he had wanted to invite the woman to coffee, only touching her on the upper arm.
The victim however gave the court a different account.
“First he wanted to know if he could borrow a lighter, then he wouldn’t leave my side. He grabbed me three times between the buttocks, even though I had told him that I didn’t want that,” she said.
The sentence also included a count of shoplifting.
Hertle referred to the high “rate of criminality” of the asylum seeker, who had only been living in Germany since March 2016 and who had also received a sentence for fare-dodging.
“He needed a warning shot,” said the judge.
In his conviction, the judge met the punishment demanded by public prosecutors.
Felix Dappah with agency report