“The story is completely without basis and we were enraged as we read it,” Berlin’s police told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) on Friday.
The Guardian on Thursday published an interview with Naveed B., quoting him as remembering two officers “digging the heels of their shoes into my feet”, and one of the men “putting great pressure on my neck with his hand”.
Naveed B., an asylum seeker from Pakistan, was arrested shortly after a truck ploughed into a Berlin Christmas market on December 19th, killing 11 people.
A day later police released him, admitting that they had the wrong man. The main suspect is now Anis Amri, a Tunisian who was shot dead in Milan last Friday after shooting a police officer.
Amri's ID was found in the truck and terror group Isis has since released a video of him swearing them his allegiance.
Police also tweeted on Friday that they had spoken to B. and he had told them: “I was neither beaten nor badly treated.”
— Polizei Berlin (@polizeiberlin) December 30, 2016
A police spokesperson told FAZ that B. told them that a professional translator was not present at the interview with the Guardian, only an acquaintance who could speak a bit of his language.
He accused the British newspaper of putting words into his mouth, police claim.
In reality, B. was thankful to the police for how they had looked after him after his wrongful arrest, the spokesperson said.
Berlin police said they would not take the case any further.
“This has already wasted enough of our time, but it has nothing to do with quality journalism.”