German police said that they disproved claims from a 13-year-old German-Russian girl that that she was abducted and raped by refugees, sparking anger in Germany and causing tensions with Russia.
Prosecutors said in a statement that the girl, only named as Lisa under German privacy laws, admitted that she lied about the alleged rape.
Lisa’s parents reported her missing on Jan. 11 because she did not turn up to school in the Marzahn District of the capital. She reappeared about 30 hours later with injuries on her face and told her parents that she had been abducted and raped by men who appeared to be North African or Middle Eastern.
Lisa was questioned by trained specialists three days later.
“She immediately admitted the rape story was not true,” spokesman for the state prosecutor, Martin Steltner said.
Steltner said that the girl was scared to go home after the school had contacted her parents over an incident at school, and she made up the story to explain her disappearance. Analysis of the girl’s mobile phone records revealed that she had spent the night with a friend.
"Using data from her broken mobile phone, we were able to access information about a young German man aged 19 - an acquaintance of the 13-year-old girl," Steltner told AFP.
"The young girl wanted to hide at his house because she was having problems in school," he added.
German police reported that no sexual contact had happened, either consensual or non-consensual adding that Lisa is not under any suspicion.
“My daughter is doing badly,” Lisa’s mother told in an interview with a German magazine.
Lisa is now undergoing psychiatric treatment in hospital.
A Russian state television reported, exacerbating the situation, that the girl’s relatives claimed her allegations were not being investigated.
The incident triggered a furore among Berlin’s Russian-German community and Pegida movement in the wake of the mass sexual assaults, allegedly carried out by refugees in Cologne. A Russian-German community group staged a protest backed by the Pegida. The far-right National Democratic Party also demonstrated in Marzahn.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, criticised the police handling the case this week and accused them of covering up in incident and demanded action after the Russian-German girl claimed that she was kidnapped in Berlin.
“The news of her disappearance was kept secret,” Lavrov told a press conference.
“They are painting over reality with political correctness,” he added.
Lavrov’s German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, accused Russia of exploiting the case for “political propaganda” and to draw a debate about immigration to Germany, which welcomed 1.1 million refugees last year.