Russia pushes Germany for transparency on teen 'rape' case
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday urged Germany to share information about a 13-year-old Russian-German girl whose family says she was raped by migrants, as Moscow and Berlin wrangled over the case.
"I'm sure that if we are provided with the necessary information by the German institutions involved, there will be less misunderstanding," Lavrov said on a visit to ex-Soviet Turkmenistan, quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.
The family of the 13-year-old girl, named as Liza by Russia, said she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by three immigrants in Berlin.
The case in Germany has fuelled the heated debate over migrants and exacerbated tensions between Germany and Russia over the conflict in Syria and European Union sanctions imposed on Moscow.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday urged Lavrov to avoid "political" exploitation of the allegations, pending the results of an investigation.
German police last week rejected the teenager's account but nevertheless passed the case to the prosecutor's office.
Berlin prosecutors said there was no evidence that the girl was forced to have sexual relations but opened a probe against at least one man on possible statutory rape charges since she was under the age of consent (14 in Germany).
"Since we are talking about a Russian citizen. we have the right not to simply wait for the end of the investigation," Lavrov said Thursday.
"According to all the norms that exist in the civilised world, we must be informed of any incident that happens to Russian citizens, which in this case was not done in a timely fashion," he complained.
He said Russia had initially heard about the incident "not from Germany's official structures but from the Russian-speaking community, then from the family's lawyer, then from Liza's parents."
"I'm sure that the more transparency we have here, the more information we have on our citizens who get into unusual situations, particularly such serious ones, the better it will be for our relations."
Lavrov on Tuesday had lent credence to the girl's allegations by saying that she had disappeared "absolutely for sure" against her will and that details of the incident had "been hidden."
© 2016 AFP