Spanish police detain 57 in online paedophilia raids

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Spanish police detained 57 suspects in raids on a major online child pornography ring, which included local police and business chiefs, they said Friday.

Police launched 97 raids across Spain after analysing more than 20,000 Internet connections, the national police said.

Officers arrested 57 people and charged another 47 over the possession and distribution of child pornography, they said.

"Among those arrested was a producer of pornographic material who had filmed two relatives aged seven and 14 in sexual situations," the police said in a statement. The suspect, a gardener, had been taken into custody.

Others detained ranged from local police officers to business chiefs, students, information technology engineers and the unemployed.

More than 400 officers from 36 police forces and 70 police courts and district clerks coordinated the operation, seizing 328 hard disks, 40 laptop computers, 21 computer chips, and hundreds of dvds and cds.

The Spanish police said they tracked the activity using a sophisticated new software tool, NordicMule, developed by Norway's National Criminal Investigation Service.

The operation detected people exchanging child pornography on peer-to-peer networks, which allow users to exchange files online directly between computers.

As a result, the network was dismantled in three days, police said.

Spain has stepped up its fight against online child pornography, arresting about 1,200 people in the past five years.

On October 1, 2008, Spanish police staged their biggest operation against Internet child pornography, arresting 121 people suspected of involvement in a network that reached 75 countries.

© 2010 AFP

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