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German MP facing child porn charges for alleged downloads to work computer

Prosecutor’s statement says the lawmaker is accused of downloading illegal videos onto his Bundestag laptop late last year.

File photo from 2013 of German MP Sebastian Edathy.
File photo from 2013 of German MP Sebastian Edathy.
Image: Frank Jordans

A GERMAN LAWMAKER who resigned earlier this year is now facing criminal charges for allegedly downloading child pornography onto his work computer, prosecutors said today.

The prosecutor’s office in the northern city of Hanover said that it had charged Sebastian Edathy, a former high-flying member of parliament known for his fight against far-right extremists, on Tuesday.

“The former deputy is accused of downloading videos featuring child pornography onto his Bundestag laptop from the Internet on six days between November 1 and 10, 2013,” it said in a statement.

It added that he was suspected of being in possession of a photo book and a CD deemed by prosecutors to contain illicit material featuring minors.

A court in nearby Verden must decide if the case against Edathy, a member of the Social Democrats, partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s left-right coalition government, will go to trial.

Edathy, 44, resigned citing health reasons in February after the allegations against him surfaced, touching off a major political scandal at the start of Merkel’s third term.

The case subsequently prompted a cabinet minister to resign under pressure over suspicions he leaked confidential information about the probe while he held the interior portfolio.

Edathy, who has not been remanded in custody and is reportedly lying low somewhere in southern Europe, had gained prominence for heading a parliamentary panel into the shock 2011 discovery of a neo-Nazi killer cell.

He has vehemently denied the child pornography charges, for which he could face two years in prison.

- © AFP, 2014

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