German couple sentenced for selling son to pedophiles on the internet

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A German mother and her partner have been sentenced to prison for selling the woman's son, now ten years old, to pedophiles on the internet in a case that has horrified the nation.

The court heard they sold the boy - who is now 10-years-old - on the darknet, a part of the internet that can only be accessed using special software.

Six other people were arrested along with the couple last autumn - with several men already convicted in separate trials.

Berrin Taha and Christian Lais, both German nationals, stand accused of rape, aggravated sexual assault of children, forced prostitution and distribution of child pornography.

The woman's 39-year-old male partner was handed a 12-year prison term followed by "preventive detention", which could delay his release on the grounds that he poses a danger to the public.

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

In the following months, the court said, the woman organized assaults on a 2-year-old girl she occasionally looked after.

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The court found that the unemployed couple had sexually assaulted the boy, now 10, and pimped him on the so-called dark net between May 2015 and August 2017.

He also made serious accusations against the child's mother.

Video footage catalogued the horror of the boy's abuse, which included him being tied up and subjected to verbal humiliation.

The boy has been rehomed with a foster family, and will receive €42,500 (£38,000) in compensation from his mother and her partner, and €18,000 (£16,091) in compensation from Gonzalez Diaz.

Local authorities have been accused of failing to protect the boy from his abusive parents, after officials removed him from his home, but returned him back weeks later.

The verdict against the mother and stepfather in the case, which police have called one of the most atrocious they have investigated, is expected on Tuesday.