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The BBC's James Coomarasamy in Paris
"Childrens' rights groups said they were satisfied"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Child porn ring leader jailed

The leader of a child porn ring has been jailed in France's biggest paedophile trial.

Bernard Alapetite, 47, who was charged with organising the paedophile ring, was sentenced to three years in jail by the court in Macon, south western France.

He copied foreign child sex videos, featuring rapes of boys aged under 15, and sold them for 800 francs ($120) each.

The court gave suspended sentences of between two and six months to more than 40 men found guilty of possessing the videos. Nine were found not guilty.

Five suicides

An accomplice of Paris publishing house boss Alapetite was given a four-month suspended sentence, and two filmmakers were fined.

Nearly 700 people suspected of belonging to the paedophile ring were questioned across France following a swoop involving 2,500 police officers in 1997.

The publicity given to the round-up and to the subsequent trial prompted complaints from some civil rights groups after five of those questioned committed suicide.

However, youth minister Marie-George Buffet pledged to reinforce controls at schools, youth clubs and summer camps after teachers were found to form one of the biggest groups among 210 people placed under formal investigation after the raids.

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18 Jan 99 | Sci/Tech
New war on Internet porn
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