A man wanted in Canada for alleged involvement in online abuse was sentenced Thursday to nearly 11 years in prison by a Dutch court for cyberbullying dozens of young girls and gay men.
The court on Thursday convicted the 38-year-old man, Aydin Coban, for fraud and blackmail via the internet, according to a statement from the Dutch legal authorities.
It gave him the maximum possible sentence of 10 years and eight months, “because of the devastating consequences his behaviour has on the young lives of the girls” in particular, and out of fear that he could commit new offences if released, the statement said.
Coban pretended to be a boy or girl and persuaded his victims to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam, then posted the images online or blackmailed them by threatening to do so. He was accused of abusing 34 girls and five gay men, behaviour the court called “astonishing.” In some cases, the abuse lasted years.
In Canada, he faces a separate trial in the cyberbullying of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old girl whose suicide drew global attention to online abuse.
A Dutch court has approved Coban’s extradition following his trial in Amsterdam. He has appealed that decision and denies involvement in any cyberbullying. In the Canadian case, he faces charges including extortion, possession of child pornography and attempting to lure a child online.
Todd brought cyberbullying to mainstream attention by posting a video on YouTube in which she told her story with handwritten signs, describing how she was lured by a stranger to expose her breasts on a webcam.
The picture ended up on a Facebook page made by the stranger, and she was repeatedly bullied, despite changing schools. She took her own life weeks after posting the video.
The Associated Press