Couple jailed for selling son to paedophiles on dark web

Defendants Christian L. and Berrin T. arrive for their pronouncement of judgement on charges related to sexual abuse of a minor at the regional court in Freiburg

A German couple have been sentenced to prison after selling their ten-year-old son to paedophiles for sex on the dark web in what has been described as "the worst case of its kind in German criminal history".

Three German men and one Swiss citizen have already been convicted in separate trials.

The Freiburg court also jailed her partner, the boy's stepfather, for 12 years.

The disturbing case sent shockwaves through the country as authorities were accused of failing to protect the boy.

It led to the arrest of eight people who have been charged with belonging to an online paedophile ring.

News agency dpa reported that the Freiburg state court sentenced the woman on Tuesday to 12½ years in prison and her partner to 12 years.

The woman, identified as Berrin T, 48, and partner, identified as Christian L., 39, were found guilty of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child pornography.

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On Monday, the court also jailed a Spanish man to 10 years in prison for repeatedly sexually abusing the boy.

Christian, 39, the boy's stepfather, must remain in preventive custody after serving his sentence.

The trial has also raised concerns that officials might sometimes wrongly presume that a woman is incapable of abusing her own child.

The couple distributed videos of the sexual abuse across the dark net, selling it for large sums of money.

The 33-year-old was also ordered to pay €18,000 (S$28,464) to the young victim.

Police in the town of Baden-Württemberg reported they had arrested a number of suspects in September 2017, reported Deutsche Welle. The mom said she went along with the abuse at first out of fear of losing her boyfriend - then later for "financial motives", the judge said.

The mother's partner was supposed to be banned from having contact with children following his earlier abuse conviction.

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