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Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Belgian 'internet baby' sent home

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A Belgian baby boy allegedly sold by his parents to a Dutch couple has been transferred to Belgian authorities, Dutch child protection officials say.

"The baby was handed over today to the Belgian authorities who will decide what to do with him," spokesman Kees Dijkman told the AFP news agency.

"Baby J" was allegedly sold in July for thousands of euros.

A court in Zwolle, in the Netherlands, ordered a month ago that he be placed under temporary state guardianship.

The judge said the case should be reviewed after six to 12 weeks, during which time child protection authorities were to seek a permanent arrangement.

The Dutch Child Protection Council accused the couple of violating international adoption rules.

The Council says the baby should be placed in the care of a "neutral foster family" with no ties to either of the couples.

The case of the baby was brought to light by the Dutch TV programme Netwerk in a recent broadcast.

The Belgian couple, from the northern city of Ghent, already had a child and decided to sell the newborn during the summer because they could not afford to raise two children, Netwerk said.

The child's aspirant parents, who are reportedly unable to have children of their own, made contact with the boy's biological mother after seeing a web advertisement, and took him a few hours after he was born.

Dutch media have claimed that they paid the child's biological parents between 5,000 and 10,000 euros ($12,000, 9,500).

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