Sunday, November 16, 2008

A German girl who won a "civic courage" award for allegedly defending an immigrant child from neo-Nazis has been found guilty of inventing the story

The 18-year-old - named as Rebecca K - had carved a swastika on her own thigh, the court concluded, rejecting her claim that neo-Nazis had done it. In February 2008 she had received an award from a Berlin association campaigning against far-right violence. She claimed four men had attacked her in November 2007 in the town of Mittweida. In its ruling the court in Hainichen, eastern Germany, ordered her to do 40 hours of community service. Doctors who examined her had testified that the swastika appeared to be a self-inflicted wound. She was 17 - a minor - when she made her report to the police. She claimed that she had gone to the aid of an immigrant child and that four neo-Nazis had thrown her to the ground and carved the swastika on her. Investigators failed to find any witnesses to corroborate her story. Her story made headlines across Germany at the time, prompting soul-searching about a rise in neo-Nazi violence.

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