A man who tried to sell his infant daughter on eBay can meet his child only in the presence of a third person, a court in Duisburg has ruled. The father had put up the child for sale on the online portal a few weeks ago.
The father, a 28-year-old man, published an entry on eBay on October 11, offering his daughter for 5,000 euros ($5,450) to any willing buyer. The child was called "Maria" and a description in broken German said she was 40 days old. Four pictures of the baby wearing rompers accompanied the offer. The seller called himself "Kühlschrank" - or "refrigerator" in German.
eBay employees noticed the entry around 30 minutes after it was posted and called the police, who traced the source of the advertisement and raided the home of a refugee family a day later on October 12. The baby was taken from her parents and placed in a foster family. Duisburg city officials said the baby "was doing well," given the circumstances.
Initially, the father did not admit to the crime, telling police officers that his phone had been stolen. Three days later, however, he said he had meant the advertisement only "as a joke" and surrendered the phone he had used to publish the entry on eBay.
On Thursday, the family judge at Duisburg's local court presided over the trial. The baby and her father were both absent from the session, which was attended only by the 20-year-old mother. A court spokesman said the baby's father was not obliged to be present during the proceedings. "The court has not found any signs that the child was neglected," court spokesman Rolf Rausch said.
Judges ordered Maria's mother to move with her baby to an undisclosed location. Her 28-year-old father would be allowed to visit her only if a third person were present. More actions would be taken against the father, judges said, but they did not reveal any further details.
mg/sms (dpa, KNA)