Berlin: A German mother and her partner were convicted Tuesday over the repeated rape of the woman's young son and for selling him for sex on the internet for more than two years. They were sentenced to prison in a case that has horrified the country.
News agency DPA reported that the Freiburg state court in southwestern Germany sentenced the woman, who has been identified as Berrin Taha, in line with German privacy rules, to 12 years in prison for rape, sexual abuse and forced prostitution.
Her partner, Christian Lais, was sentenced to 12 years. The court ruled that the man, who had a previous conviction for child abuse, must remain in preventive custody after serving his sentence.
The 48-year-old woman and 39-year-old man were accused of repeatedly abusing and raping the boy, now 10, and selling him to other men on the darknet, an area of the internet that can be visited only by using special software, for more than two years. The abuse was filmed.
The pair and six others were arrested last fall. Several men have already been convicted in separate trials.
In Tuesday's verdict, the couple was ordered to pay a total 42,500 euros ($49,100) in compensation to the boy and another victim, a young girl.
Local authorities have been accused of failing to protect the boy, who now lives with a foster family.
The mother's partner was supposed to be banned from having contact with children. Officials took the boy out of the family in March last year, but a local court sent him back weeks later.
The case has shocked the country and raised serious questions about child protection services in Germany.
The sentences for the boy's parents fell short of what prosectors had demanded - 14 years and six months for Taha and 13 years and six months for Lais.
On Monday, the same court sentenced a Spanish paedophile, Javier Gonzalez Diaz, to 10 years' prison for repeatedly sexually abusing the young boy after paying the parents.
The 33-year-old was also ordered to pay 18,000 euros to the young victim.
The case came to light following an anonymous tip-off last September, and led to the arrest of eight people who have been charged with belonging to an online paedophile ring.
Lais admitted on the witness stand to the assaults on the boy.
He also made serious accusations against the child's 48-year-old mother, who confessed to the crimes but remained largely silent about any possible motive during the trial.
In his verdict, Buergelin said Taha went along with the abuse at first so she would not lose Lais as a partner and later "for financial motives".
They charged several thousand euros for each instance of abuse, filmed the acts and posted them on the darknet.
The boy's lawyer told reporters on Tuesday that he was doing well "under the circumstances".