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Germany: Kremlin, far-right exploit teenager's lies about 'migrant rape' Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

Germany: Kremlin, far-right exploit teenager's lies about 'migrant rape'

The European far-right has blown incidents out of proportion to promote its anti-refugee/migrant agenda [AFP]

Date of publication: 1 February, 2016

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A suspicious and now discredited claim by a Russian-German teenager was quickly exploited by Moscow and its far-right allies in Germany to ramp up Islamophobia and justify Russian meddling abroad.
Discredited allegations of rape made by a Russian-German teenager and supposedly involving Middle Eastern migrants have further exposed the unholy alliance between Russia and the far-right in Europe.

In the wake of the mass-sexual assault incident in Cologne, Germany, allegedly involving migrants, a 13-year-old Russian-German girl decided to make up a story about having been raped by "southern-looking" men.

To the credit of the authorities in Berlin, the girl's lies were quickly exposed after thorough investigations and questionning, following which she reportedly confessed to fabricating the episode.

By then, however, the damage had already been done.

The teenager's false claims were quickly exploited by far-right anti-immigrant groups in Germany to drive further their campaign against migrants and refugees in Europe, whom they have falsely portrayed as a threat to their communities.
Curiously, it was Russian state television network Channel One broke that the story of the alleged rape
A Russian-German community group staged an anti-immigrant protest, supported by the Pegida-related Bärgida movement. The far-right National Democratic party also demonstrated in Marzahn.

Curiously, it was Russian state television network Channel One that initially broke the story of the alleged rape with a report by their Berlin correspondent Ivan Blagoy on January 16.

Other Russian networks also broadcast the story, with pro-Kremlin channel NTV saying she was held as a sex slave, outrageously claiming that "in Germany and in Sweden, residents are regularly raped by refugees … but the local authorities and police hide these facts and do not open criminal investigations."

"The new developments clearly expose the propaganda that was linked to this case in the past few days," said Berlin's State Interior Minister Frank Henkel, according to DPA news agency.

Russian propaganda exploitation of the incident seemed to have had at least two goals: One, to rally Russian-speaking communities in Europe around the banner of the Kremlin as protector of ethnic Russians everywhere, a claim that first surfaced in parallel with Russian intervention in Ukraine.

And two, to fuel far-right sentiment against migrants in Europe, including Syrian refugees, as part of Moscow's overarching Islamophobic narrative meant in part to justify its foreign meddling in the name of fighting Islamist terrorism.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov weighed in personally to criticise the Berlin authorities. “The news that she disappeared was kept secret for a very long time,” he told a press conference, blaming “political correctness”.

Lavrov made those comments after a report on Russian state TV was aired, in which the girl’s relatives claimed her allegations were not being investigated.

The girl had claimed to have been abducted and sexually abused by men from "southern" countries had in fact run away from home and then sought a convincing cover story, according to Berlin's authorities.

"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," Martin Steltner, spokesman for the prosecutor's office, told the AFP news agency.

"The young girl wanted to hide at his house because she was having problems in school," said Steltner, adding that some of her possessions were discovered at his house. The man will not be charged, but will serve as an eye-witness in the case.

Between January 11 and 12, the girl - identified as Lisa - disappeared for 30 hours, after which she reappeared and filed a police report that three men from "southern countries" abducted her from a railway station in Berlin, then took her to a house where they raped her.

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