izbjeglice.jpg
Photograph: EPA/CSABA HUNGARY OUT

Berlin police said late Wednesday that the purported death of a 24-year-old migrant after waiting for days outside a registration office in the German capital was fabricated by a volunteer from a social aid group.

The volunteer had described taking in the ailing migrant and calling an ambulance for the man, who was suffering from a severe fever. He said the migrant died en route to a hospital.

Police said that after questioning, the man who originated the tale, who was working with Berlin volunteer organization Moabit Hilft, admitting making up the story.

Earlier, a spokeswoman for Moabit Hilft had related the story to dpa.

The discredited story was set at Lageso - a Berlin registration centre for asylum seekers, which has become a symbol for Germany's lumbering and chaotic response to the refugee influx.

Lageso, a German acronym for the capital's State Office for Health and Social Affairs, has repeatedly made headlines in recent months with images of long queues and tented accommodation.

As reports of the death spread Wednesday through social media, Berlin city social welfare officials had said for hours that they could not verify the alleged death.

"We have checked all hospital admissions," a department spokeswoman said, noting there was no trace of the reported dead migrant.

Berlin fire officials had been unable to verify an emergency call matching the volunteer's story.

"Why, I ask, did he have to die?" the volunteer, who later recanted the story, had written in a Facebook post, which he later deleted.

"Maybe because we haven't been given an appointment for days?" he wrote, claiming the asylum seeker had been unable to see a doctor.

Moabit Hilft has been loudly critical of the Berlin city authorities' handling of the migration crisis. The group's spokeswoman had said that there was no reason to doubt the death, prior to the volunteer's recanting of the story.

A police spokeswoman said that the death story posted on Facebook was false but apparently did not constitute a crime, despite the far-reaching consequences.

Related stories

Latest news

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.

Croatian government condemns extremism

The Croatian government on Sunday condemned all forms of extremism and acts of provocative nature aimed against the Serb minority in Vukovar as well as the rally organised by the Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) in Zagreb on Friday.

Approx. 7,500 migrants prevented from illegally entering Serbia in past 8 months

In the past several months, the authorities have prevented the illegal entry of approximately 7,500 migrants on Serbian soil. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday.

Merkel's conservatives and Schulz's centre-left draw even in survey

Voter support for the German centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) is on par with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, a survey published Sunday showed.

Police arrest A-HSP party chief at rally in Zagreb

Police arrested Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) chief Drazen Keleminac for disturbing the peace at a public rally organised by the A-HSP in Zagreb on Sunday.

Kidnapped German archaeologists freed in Nigeria

Two German archaeologists who were kidnapped in northern Nigeria have been released, police said Sunday.

Turkey has built 290 kilometres of wall on border with Syria

Turkey has erected 290 kilometres of a planned 511-kilometre wall along its border with Syria, local media reported Sunday, citing the head of the building authority in charge of the project.

Syrian forces close in on city held by Turkish-backed rebels

Syrian government forces on Sunday seized a town from the Islamic State extremist militia near the northern city of al-Bab already under the control of Turkish-backed rebels, Syrian state media and monitors reported.

At least 90 Christian families escape Sinai attacks

At least 90 families reached Egypt's Ismailiya governorate, after escaping targeted killings by a local Islamic State militia in northern Sinai in recent days, an official at the Coptic Orthodox Church said Sunday.

40,000 Croats suffer from anorexia and bulimia

More than 40,000 Croatians, mostly girls and young women aged between 12 and 30, suffer from anorexia, bulimia or some other eating disorder and that number is growing each year, experts at the centre for eating disorders BEA have reported.

Iranian ex-president Ahmadinejad praises Trump

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote a personal letter to Donald Trump in which he praised the US president and wished him well in his tenure, local media reported Sunday.

Russians honour slain opposition leader Nemtsov in Moscow rally

A demonstration on the second anniversary of the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov drew thousands of people to the streets of Moscow on Sunday.