Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Friday, 14 November 2008

Girl sentenced for swastika lie

Rebecca K
The trial exposed Rebecca's tale of heroism as an invention

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 she had received an award from a Berlin association campaigning against far-right violence.

She claimed four men had attacked her last November in the town of Mittweida.

In its ruling on Friday 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, German media report.

Her story made headlines across Germany at the time, prompting soul-searching about a rise in neo-Nazi violence.

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