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Don't politicize teen 'rape,' Berlin asks Moscow

January 27, 2016

After comments from Russia's foreign minister, Berlin has asked Russia not to politicize a Russian-German teen's potential rape. The girl told lawyers she was abducted and raped by migrants two weeks ago.

Image: picture alliance/dpa/M. Eich

"There is no reason, in fact it is not acceptable, to instrumentalize this process politically," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin on Monday. The judicial authorities responsible for the case should investigate the matter "in peace and without being bothered from outside," he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had earlier accused Berlin authorities of trying to cover up the case. "It is clear that the girl did not voluntarily disappear for 30 hours," he said.

The case in question is the alleged kidnapping of a 13-year-old German girl of Russian origin. The girl, identified only as Lisa, said she was kidnapped on January 11 by three men, who looked "southern" and spoke broken German.

Her lawyer says the kidnappers took her to an apartment where they abused and raped her. Police, however, recently said they had not yet found evidence to support the rape claim.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier similarly urged Russia to await further evidence from the difficult case.

"There is no reason and no justification for using the case of this 13-year-old girl, which has yet to be fully explained, for political propaganda," Steinmeier said, also seeking to assure Moscow that German authorities were working non-stop on ascertaining what took place. The minister advised Russia's government not to rely on media reports on the issue, saying German authorities would keep Russia's ambassadors personally abreast of the latest developments.

Protests in Berlin, echoes of Cologne

The incident sparked outrage in Russian media, with members of the far right accusing police of attempting to cover up crimes committed by refugees. Some also drew parallels with the German police's initial silence after sex attacks by North African migrants on hundreds of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

The case prompted hundreds of Russian Germans (pictured above) to protest in Berlin over the weekend, calling for their children to be protected from "migrant violence." They were backed by supporters of "Bärgida," the Berlin branch of the Pegida movement.

Police are still investigating events that happened two weeks ago. The only thing which was clear was that the 13-year-old had gone missing. She has accused three men of abducting and raping her, although police have found no evidence of the latter. However, police have spoken about indications of her having sexual contact with a person she knew. Investigators are now looking into possible sexual abuse.

mg/msh (Reuters, AFP)