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CRIME

Switzerland implicates 600 Germans in paedophile network

Six hundred Germans are suspected of involvement in an Internet paedophile network uncovered in Switzerland, where four men have already been arrested in the investigation.

Forty Austrian men are also involved, judicial authorities in the northeastern Swiss canton of St. Gallen said on Wednesday. Four Swiss men have been arrested for “acts of a sexual nature” against children, and for producing pornographic films and images involving young girls.

Legal proceedings have also been launched against another nine Swiss men aged between 20 and 65. Two of the men are accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl and posting images of the abuse on the internet forum.

The homes of the 13 men have been searched by police, and computer hard-drives and other equipment have been confiscated. Austrian police said Wednesday they had opened a case against 15 men between 30 and 60 years old following the break-up of the paedophile network.

Police spokesman Helmut Greiner said Swiss authorities had sent the IP addresses of 35 Austrians to their colleagues in Vienna in connection with the probe in Switzerland.

Cyber-crime investigators uncovered the network which was hosted by a St. Gallen-based Internet service provider. Investigating magistrate Ursula Brasey told Swiss news agency ATS that the head of the ISP had alerted the authorities to the content of the site, and would not face any charges.

The German-language forum featured accounts from different men about their experiences with young girls and how best to ‘groom’ them for pornographic ends, the authorities said.

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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