Prosecutors charge MP Tauss in child porn case

State prosecutors in Karlsruhe said Wednesday they had filed charges against Jörg Tauss, Germany's only MP for the Pirate Party, on suspicion of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Prosecutors charge MP Tauss in child porn case
Photo: DPA

Their case is based on indications Tauss “acquired, distributed and possessed” child pornography 102 times between May 2007 and January 2009. On 95 occasions the politician allegedly procured some 228 photos and videos he saved to his mobile phone, which he sent to other people six times, state prosecutors said.

Investigators also found other photos and DVDs in his apartment during a search on March 5, 2009.

“Because of the special meaning of the case,” it will be tried in a district court, prosecutors said.

Tauss maintains his innocence and has said he possessed the illegal materials as part of his research to fight child pornography. Investigators said they found “no objective evidence” of this claim, saying it had been “disproved.”

On Tuesday the Bundestag annulled Tauss’ parliamentary immunity, clearing the way for prosecutors to press charges.

After the scandal broke, Tauss’ lawyer criticised state prosecutors for staging a “public execution.”

In response to the investigation, Tauss left the centre-left Social Democratic Party, for which he has been an MP since 1994. He is now the first and only member of the Pirate Party in the Bundestag after ignoring calls that he step down from parliament.

The Pirate Party in Germany sees itself as representing those in the information technology community, campaigning for privacy protection as well as the loosening of copyright laws.

He said he left the SPD in protest at its decision to support a bill giving the government the power to censor websites containing child porn.

Although Tauss is known for his experience in information technology matters, he said the decision to give the government powers to close such sites down is a mistake.

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