Sebastian Edathy

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Sebastian Edathy born September 5, 1969 (as Sebastian Edathiparambil) is a German politician. He was a prominent member of the Social Democratic Party and became the chairman of a key committee in January 2012 at the Parliament, which was investigating failures of police and intelligence units in the serial murders of nine immigrants by the far-right German terrorist group ″National Socialist Underground″ (NSU) from 2000-2007. The NSU-committee was led by Edathy and questioned various officials from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office during years 2012 - 2013.

Edathy and Azov Films

The case started in 2011 when Canadian police raided the company known as Azov Films, a company which marketed international films and naturalist videos, seizing their customer list. The Canadian government subsequently turned over a list of some 800 Germans who are believed to be Azov customers to the German Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA), among them was the 42-year-old Social Democrat member of the Bundestag, Sebastian Edathy. [1] In February 2014, Edathy admitted to having purchased some materials from a Canadian firm, but he denied the allegations of possessing child pornographic content, he insisted the material he purchased was "unambiguously legal" [2] which, under German law, is true. [3] The companies website ( marketed films from around the world including many award winning "foreign films" and it has not been made public which films Edathy may have purchased. On his Facebook page, Edathy rejected the accusation that he possessed child pornography: "The public claim that I possess child pornographic texts or that I had obtained them is untrue." [1]

Edathy announced his resignation from parliament "for health reasons" on February 7, 2014. Just two days after his resignation went public, his home and offices were searched by authorities; media outlets asserted that the searches were made on allegations of possession of child pornography. [2] At that time, no charges were filed. February 14, 2014, Hans-Peter Friedrich resigned from the ruling CDU–SPD grand coalition government, reacting to imminent legal investigations into incidents during his tenure as Federal Ministry of the Interior (Germany) Federal Minister of the Interior. Friedrich was accused of betraying state secrets regarding legal investigations to SPD party heads during the coalition negotiations after the federal elections in 2013, information showing Edathy's link to Azov Films and plans to take up an investigation against Edathy on suspicion of possessing such material. "The SPD's top leaders, who received the intelligence information from Friedrich, said they have not given any tip-off to Edathy and they kept the information secret."[4] [5]

In the wake of the media frenzy, Germany's militant Child Protection Agency and other groups have called for tougher laws that would outlaw the sale of all naturist or nude depictions of children. [6]

March 6, 2014, Thomas Fischer, Chief Judge of the German Federal Court issued a statement condemning the German police for their overzealous pursuit of men who ordered materials which were legal, under German law, from Azov Films (including Sebastian Edathy). [7]

July 17, 2014, prosecutors in Hanover produced an indictment charging Edathy with possessing child pornography for which he could face up to two years in prison if convicted. [8] According to his Facebook page, the court in Verden gave him until August 15th 2014 for his response to the allegations of the prosecution. After that, the court will decide IF the matter will proceed to trial or not. [9]

August 22, 2014, the Constitutional Court rejected an attempt by Sebastian Edathy to have evidence against him thrown out during his trial for possession of child pornography. Judges found that there were reasonable grounds for suspicion prior to the search of Edathy's home and offices. [10]

November 18, 2014, the trial against Sebastian Edathy, known for his having fought against far-right extremists, is due to begin on February 23rd, as confirmed by the court in the northern town of Verden. [11]

December 18, 2014, Sebastian Edathy gives media interview over an inquiry into child pornography allegations. Questions remain over whether he was tipped off by other politicians while under investigation. Edathy told the media that he ordered pictures and movies online, but added that they did not contain child pornography.

"I'm sure I made mistakes, but it was legal," he said. [12]

February 23, 2015, Child pornography trial begins against Sebastian Edathy facing accusations that he downloaded indecent photos and films of children under the age of 14 on to his government laptop in 2013. If convicted he could be jailed for up to two years or face a fine. After a short hearing, the case was adjourned until 2 March with a suggestion from the prosecution that if he pleaded guilty it might accept a fine. [13]

March 2, 2015, in order to avoid a trial and possible imprisonment, Sebastian Edathy confessed in court to using his official work laptop to download pornographic videos and images of children from the Internet. Following Edathy's admission, the Verden District Court in the German state of Lower Saxony on Monday handed the former Social Democrats (SPD) deputy a fine of 5,000 euros (U.S.$5,600), bringing the trial to an end. [14]

The Child Protection Federation of Lower Saxony, a fanatical German NGO, rejected the €5,000 which ex-MP Sebastian Edathy was ordered to pay them for allegedly illegally downloading child pornography, saying they didn't want to endorse his escape from punishment, likely in an effort to support a growing movement in Germany to pressure their government to have Mr. Edathy re-sentenced to a harsher punishment. [15] [16]


See Also

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