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Putin Was Fooled by Bogus Report in Russia's Own State Media

Kremlin Press Service

At a conference on Monday for interethnic relations in Russia, President Vladimir Putin cited a fabricated news story from the state-owned television network Channel One, which claimed that the Austrian Supreme Court acquitted a Middle-Eastern refugee of raping a 10-year-old boy. 

Putin mentioned the story in order to explain why Russia should draw on its own experiences with interethnic relations, rather than Europe's. 

"You saw what happens — an immigrant raped a child in one of the European countries," the president said. "The court acquitted him for two reasons: one, he did not speak the host country's language; and, two, he didn't know that the boy — and it was a boy — objected." 

This was a clear reference to a story Channel One aired on the morning of Oct. 26 about "blatant tolerance" towards immigrants in the EU, featuring a claim about an Iraqi migrant named Amir who was convicted of raping a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool. According to the story, the rapist's conviction was overturned by the Austrian Supreme Court because the prosecution failed to establish that the defendant understood that his victim objected to his sexual advances.

In reality, the 20-year-old immigrant was not acquitted by the court, but rather is still in state custody awaiting a new trial that will take place in 2017.

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