Friday, 1 April 2016

The police concealed a sex attack by asylum seekers on two women in Meschede. They say their approach was justified by tactical considerations. Even after the events in Cologne, they hold to this line. 
Mareike Breuer (name changed) is sitting at the table. From the window in the living room the 25-year-old can see Meschede's pedestrian zone. It's already getting dark. On Sunday only a few people are passing. The attack on 27 December took place only a few metres from her house door. She was out partying with a friend in "Embassy". "A group kept dancing really close to us. I didn't like it. So I said 'No' emphatically. 'I don't like it!' We then went closer to the entrance." Hours later there was another encounter. 
At 5.45 am, the friends were going home along the Ruhrstraße, two young men asked for cigarettes. "Please Cigarette." Both were among the dancers at the disco. One had a black beard, the other a thick woollen coloured cap. Weeks later, Mareike Breuer can still describe the perpetrators precisely, because what followed changed their day-to-day life. 
The men attacked the women directly from behind, held their arms, touched their breasts, tried to reach their crotch. Mareike Breuer defended herself vigorously, tore herself free and ran to help her friend. "She was under shock. Motionless," says Mareike Breuer. "I didn't even scream. I never thought anything like that could happen in Meschede." The friends immediately called the police. "We were just afraid that they would come back. Or find out where I live." 
The police deliberately refrained from a press report. The case only became known thanks to the women. "I don't understand why that wasn't released to the press. It's also a warning for other women. That you need to be more careful at night," says Mareike Breuer. Her voice wavers. When the women asked the police, they say they were advised not to go to the media under any circumstances. "Because that could give rise to unpleasant questions." It was for the protection of the victims. The police said they feared negative reactions among the population. 
Officials dispute this. Press spokesman Ludger Rath says: "We didn't want to scare the perpetrators away." Very quickly the poluce knew who was involved: two men from Morocco, 20 and 21, housed in the emergency accommodation for asylum seekers in the Franz-Stahlmecke school. In case of publication, according to Rath, there would have been reactions in the social networks. "The perpetrators could have become aware of it and fled." But the tactic didn't work: the men disappeared on the night of the attack. The police know their names, they have their photos - but they don't know where they are or whether they are in Germany.



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