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Glock 17 handgun used in a 2016 Munich shooting rampage carried out by David S.
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Hoppe

Darknet operator sentenced to six years

December 19, 2018

A German court has found a 31-year-old man guilty of operating a platform that allowed a gunman to purchase his murder weapon. The presiding judge said the crime could not have happened without the platform.


Germany's Karlsruhe District Court on Wednesday sentenced a 31-year-old man to six years in prison for his role in a 2016 shooting spree that left 10 people dead. Presiding Judge Holger Radke described the shooting as one of the worst crimes in Germany since the Second World War.

The man was convicted on charges of negligent homicide, negligent bodily harm and abetting the illegal sale of weapons and drugs.

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Simply didn't care

Radke admonished the man for his attitude, accusing him of not caring that people were selling guns and drugs with his help. The man, who has a bachelor's degree in computer science, had previously claimed he didn't care about the drugs, but assumed that the guns being sold on his platform were fakes.

The judge said although there was nothing wrong with the idea of creating a platform for anonymous communication, even "the simplest of minds" would have to be cognizant of the dangers such communication might pose.

The defendant operated the darknet platform Deutschland im Deep Web (DiDW) between 2013 and June 2017.

Speaking of the connection between the defendant and the Munich shooter, the judge said, "The shooter could not have bought the weapon, could not have carried out the shooting rampage" without the platform.

Uncharted territory

Radke agreed with state prosecutors' sentiments that the court was operating in uncharted territory as relates to the responsibility of platform hosts and crimes their users commit. He said the court was using pre-World War I laws to answer today's questions, adding that lawmakers are seeking to change that by proposing legislation that would make operating criminal cyberinfrastructures illegal. 

In January 2018, the 33-year-old man who physically sold the weapon and ammunition  to shooter David S. was sentenced to seven years in jail by the Munich District Court. In the shooting, 18-year-old David S. walked into a Munich shopping mall and opened fire, killing nine people before killing himself.  

js/sms (AP, dpa)

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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