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New stricter sexual-assault laws in Germany are making refugee activists uneasy
by Stephanie Kirchner and Rick Noack
After mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve, the German Parliament voted Thursday in favor of a stricter sexual-assault law that also could ease deportation rules for refugees convicted of sex-related offenses.
The new law sharpens punishments for anyone convicted of sexual assault regardless of nationality, but it specifies jail-then-deportation rules for convicted refugees who have sought asylum in Germany.
The changes appear aimed at two overlapping targets: closing legal loopholes over sexual assaults amid complaints that German codes are too lax and addressing mounting public backlash after the country absorbed the bulk of the wave of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and beyond last year.
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