BERLIN (Reuters) – Prosecutors on Wednesday refuted an account of an assault against a lawmaker for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that sparked public outrage, saying video images showed he was not attacked with wooden bars as initially claimed.
The party acknowledged that initial reports of the incident appeared to be mistaken.
Frank Magnitz, who was released from hospital in the northern city of Bremen on Wednesday, told the newspaper Die Welt that Monday’s attack was likely carried out by extremist leftists and constituted an assassination attempt.
The AfD had posted a picture on Twitter supposedly showing Magnitz on a stretcher with a deep wound to his forehead and a bruised left eye, and it said the attack was carried out by three individuals.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for the Bremen prosecutor’s office said video images showed that one of three unidentified men had jumped on Magnitz from behind – causing him to fall to the ground – before running away.
“We believe that all the injuries resulted from the fall,” the spokesman Frank Passade told German broadcaster ARD. He said there was no evidence that Magnitz had been attacked with a wooden bar or that he was kicked in the head.
An AfD spokesman told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain that the party would have written a different news release based on its current information. He said the claim that wooden bars were used to attack Magnitz came from a construction worker on the scene who had not been heard from since.
Politicians from across the political spectrum had condemned the attack and urged police to bring those responsible to justice.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident and described it as a politically motivated attack.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Hugh Lawson)