Police bust child pornography ring

Police in the city of in Münster announced on Thursday they had broken up a major child pornography ring, raiding houses across Germany and arresting eight suspects.

Police bust child pornography ring
An archive picture of a kiddie porn bust. Photo: DPA

After an investigation lasting several months, police made the raids Wednesday morning, apprehending eight people on suspicion of possessing kiddie porn material.

Three of the suspects are also accused of multiple cases of child sex abuse, according to the authorities.

The police started the investigation after they picked up a 47-year-old man in Münster in November who was in the possession of a million items of child pornography. Examination of this seized material led police to conduct the nationwide raids on Wednesday.

One of the suspects is a child model agent who had distributed pictures of naked children that were apparently taken secretly, they said. Through their investigation, police came across three more suspects in the United States and informed police there.

The announcement came as German Family Minister Kristina Schröder said the government planned a new approach to combating child pornography on the internet, admitting her predecessor Ursula von der Leyen’s approach had not worked.

The much-derided law allowing authorities to block sites – which von der Leyen pushed and the government passed but now does not want to use – could also be used to delete child pornography, she said.

In a tacit criticism of her predecessor, she said: “Certainly it would have been better to involve the internet community more. I have realised that myself.”

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.