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German operators of darknet child porn website jailed in Limburg

A German court on Thursday jailed four men convicted of founding and running a darknet forum for child pornography, with tens of thousands of members swapping illegal pictures and videos.

German operators of darknet child porn website jailed in Limburg
Police in Limburg, in the state of Hesse. Photo: DPA
The regional court in the western city of Limburg, in the state of Hesse, handed down prison sentences ranging from three years and 10 months to nine years and nine months to the German defendants, whose names were not released.
 
All were found guilty of possessing and publishing child pornography, while a 63-year-old defendant was also convicted of abusing two small children and posting images of the acts online. 

The sentencing largely met the recommendations of prosecutors.

State prosecutors carried out nationwide raids in July 2017, coordinated by the federal police force, targeting nearly 70 suspects linked to the darknet site known as Elysium.  

Before German authorities shut it down in June 2017, the site had more than  111,000 members worldwide who traded images and video files of “the most serious sexual abuse of children, including babies,” prosecutors said.

They added that suspects used the US-based online group chat service Chatstep to exchange pornographic images and videos of children.

The platform, which had chat rooms in several languages including English,  German, French and Spanish and was online for about six months, was also used 
to plan the sexual molestation of children.

German prosecutors at the time of the raids hailed the cooperation with Chatstep, which was required under US law to report all cases of child pornography.

Darknet sites like the one uncovered in the case are invisible to most internet users and can only be accessed by using encryption technology.

They have repeatedly been used by criminals to trade drugs, weapons and child pornography.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

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.

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