A Russian-German girl has admitted making up claims that she was kidnapped and raped by a group of migrants in Berlin. The case sparked protests in Germany and claims of a cover up from the Russian foreign minister.
On 11 January, the 13-year-old girl told her family she had been attacked after going missing for 30 hours. Berlin police said there was no evidence to support the claims and urged people not to spread false information about the incident on social media.
But Russian state media claimed Berlin police were attempting to cover up the attack, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference at the end of January news of the disappearance "was kept secret for a very long time" and blamed "political correctness".
Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin state prosecutor's office, said when questioned by police three days after the incident, the girl "immediately admitted that the story of the rape was not true". Then incident sparked protests by Russian-German immigrants and anti-immigrant group Pegida.
On 29 January, Steltner told RFE/RL mobile phone data indicated the girl had spent the night of a her disappearance at a male friend's house to avoid conflict with her parents over what he described as "school problems". The friend is not under suspicion of any crimes.
The mother of the girl, whose identity is not being disclosed under German law, told Der Spiegel on 31 January that her daughter was in a "very bad" condition and was being treated in a psychiatric hospital.
The incident comes after immigrants committed mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year's Eve, prompting the claims of a police cover-up and the resignation of city's police chief.