A former German parliamentarian caught with downloaded child porn has been suspended for three years by his region's branch of the Social Democrats. The party's federal office wanted expulsion and says it could appeal.
Social Democratic Party (SPD) general secretary Yasmin Fahimi said Monday the SPD's federal executive would "carefully examine" the suspension ruling reached by an internal tribunal of the party's Hanover branch.
Sebastian Edathy (pictured above) quit the Bundestag early last year and agreed in March 2015 to pay a 5,000 euro ($5,500) fine to settle criminal court proceedings for images and videos found on his parliamentary laptop in 2013.
State prosecutors had alleged that Edathy had acquired the porn from a Canadian supplier on the Internet.
Hanover branch counters federal SPD
In its ruling Monday, the SPD's Hanover tribunal dismissed a federal party application to cancel Edathy's membership completely.
In a restrained reaction, Fahimi said the SPD's federal executive had taken "due note of the decision" of the regional tribunal.
"We will now carefully examine the grounds of the decision and then decide whether we will lodge an appeal and summon the [party's] federal tribunal," Fahimi said.
Under the SPD's statute, the party and Edathy have two weeks to file for revision.
Coalition turmoil last year
Edathy resigned from the Bundestag in February last year, citing health reasons, just days before disclosures that his home and offices had been searched.
The case sparked turmoil at the start of Chancellor Angela Merkel's third term in a grand coalition between his conservatives and center-left Social Democrats.
The Bundestag subsequently tightened legislation on pictures of naked children and minors, proscribing jail sentences of one to three years for the sale of such material.
The law had previously prohibited images of sex acts involving minors but overlooked images of minors in lewd poses.
Edathy had been a high-profile parliamentarian known for fighting far-right extremists. He had headed a parliamentary inquiry into the shock 2011 discovery of a neo-Nazi killer cell, the NSU.
At the court proceedings in March, Edathy expressed regret through his lawyer and agreed to pay the 5,000 euros to a child protection association.
ipj/kms (dpa, AFP)