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CRIME

Family minister aims to block child porn sites

German Minister for Family Affairs Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday she wants a law that allows authorities to block access to internet sites featuring child pornography.

Family minister aims to block child porn sites
Photo: DPA

“I want to build a barrier against the flood of offending photographs by blocking access for the user,” von der Leyen told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt in an interview.

“Social neglect and abuse of children and the increasing content of child pornography online are a special issue for me. The numbers are developing at an explosive rate, and the amount of pictures has doubled in the last year,” she told the paper.

Von der Leyen plans to tighten regulations for electronic media, enlisting internet providers to immediately shut down offending sites that have been listed by the Federal Crime Office.

“The pictures are getting more and more violent,” she said. Every third victim of child pornography is younger than three-years-old, according to the family minister, who added that some federal police investigators even need psychological care because they are traumatized by the content of the pornographic videos featuring juveniles in sexual situations.

Von der Leyen said that while other European countries like Great Britain had managed to stem the flow of such images by blocking access to offending sites, the voluntary scheme had been ineffective in Germany.

She questioned whether internet providers are really interested in blocking access to such content, saying that there will be acrimonious resistance from some providers if a law is passed.

“I am destroying a booming online trade, built on the backs of battered children,” von der Leyen said. “The bitter truth is that only half of the countries outlaw child pornography. The other half just tolerates it.”

The mother of seven also announced the January introduction of a child protection and safety act that will allow the exchange of child neglect data between government departments.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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