Edathy Affair Shakes German Government.
Denies Child Pornography Allegations.
There are actually already enough problems that need to be discussed during a regular meeting of leading politicians from the three parties in Germany’s this Tuesday. But now the child porn allegations surrounding former Social Democratic Party (SPD) lawmaker Sebastian Edathy, and the resignation of now former Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich of the Christian Social Union (CSU), will take over the agenda.
The case started in 2010 when Canadian police began to investigate a global provider of child pornography: Azov Films, based in Toronto, is said to have customers in 94 countries, including Germany.
The Canadian investigators tell the German Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) that some 800 Germans are believed to be Azov customers. Among them is the 42-year-old Social Democrat member of the Bundestag, Sebastian Edathy.
More (chronologically ordered) information DW.
A senior German minister resigned on Friday amid accusations he leaked confidential information about a fellow lawmaker suspected of possessing child pornography, dealing a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her two-month old government.
The resignation of Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, the latest in a series of cabinet departures under Merkel, could aggravate tensions in Berlin’s new “grand coalition” at a time when it is trying to push through complex reforms of pensions and renewable energy.
What started as a small domestic affair erupted into a major political scandal on Thursday when it emerged that Friedrich had informed SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel in October that Edathy could become the target of a probe.
Gabriel then passed that on to two other senior members of his party — Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now foreign minister, and Thomas Oppermann, who leads the SPD in parliament.
Prosecutors in Hanover, who are investigating Edathy, have complained that the leaking may have compromised their case.
Edathy appears to have been given advance warning of the investigation, Hanover prosecutor Joerg Froehlich told a news conference on Friday.
As a result, German media have reported, relevant information on Edathy’s computers may have been destroyed.
It is still unclear who tipped off Edathy. If it emerged that he was alerted by a senior SPD member, it could cause even greater upheaval in Merkel’s coalition.
Edathy, a social democratic (SPD) Minister from a family of Indian background, is known for his critical writings on the German far-right.
“The 44-year-old Edathy, well known in Germany for leading a 2012-13 inquiry into neo-Nazi killings, resigned from parliament last week, citing health reasons, and has threatened to sue the newspaper that first reported about the child porn suspicions earlier this week.”
The Indian site DNA reports,
Sebastian Edathy, 44, who is facing probe for allegedly possessing child pornography, has denied any wrongdoing.
In a formal complaint filed with justice minister of Lower Saxony yesterday, Edathy’s lawyer Christian Noll claimed that the chief prosecutor Joerg Froehlich was not telling the truth when he told a news conference last Friday that the videos and photos of naked boys acquired by the ex-MP from a Canadian firm were “in the border areas” of child pornography. “Froehlich did not mention that specialists of the Federal Criminal Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Frankfurt and the Centre for Combating Internet and Computer Criminality in Giessen have evaluated the videos and photos some months earlier and they came to the conclusion that the materials were not relevant for a criminal prosecution against Edathy,” the 11-page complaint said.
Froehlich also “massively violated” the personal rights of Edathy and ruined his professional, social and private life, it claimed.
The letter described as “simply disgusting” the chief prosecutor’s assumption that Edathy had acted conspiratorially in ordering the videos and photos by using credit cards issued for hidden accounts and by downloading these materials with the computers in the Bundestag.
On the contrary, Edathy had ordered the videos and photos under his name, used credit cards issued to him and gave his own address, the letter said. Edathy’s “fully open handling” is exactly the opposite of a conspiratorial behaviour, his lawyer said. Therefore the chief prosecutor’s assumption is “defaming” and it is a “proof for his prejudice”, the letter argued.
Meanwhile, Edathy has reported to the Bundestag that his official laptop used in the house was stolen.
Last week, prosecutors raided his houses and office, but found very little evidences to incriminate him. Edathy, son of a migrant from Kerala, charged that the prosecutor’s office opened an investigation against him without any concrete charges.
Surprisingly, Taz reports today, that, this would seem, “a godsend for brown conspiracy theories.” But, “from right-wing circles surprisingly little has been heard.” Preoccupied with their own quarrels and their electoral campaigns, the far-right has so far only spoken out in social media.
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