Cyberbullying: Dutch man wanted in Amanda Todd case sentenced to 11 years

A man wanted in Canada for alleged involvement in online abuse in the case of Amanda Todd was sentenced Thursday to nearly 11 years in prison by a Dutch court for cyberbullying dozens of young girls and gay men.

The court convicted Aydin Coban, 38, for fraud and blackmail via the Internet, according to a statement from the Dutch legal authorities.

It gave him the maximum possible sentence of 10 years and eight months, "because of the devastating consequences his behaviour has on the young lives of the girls'' in particular, and out of fear that he could commit new offences if released, the statement said.

Under Dutch privacy laws the man at trial is only identified as Aydin C.

An Associated Press story from Amsterdam on Thursday reported Aydin C is the same man charged in the Todd case and that a Dutch court has approved the man's extradition following his trial in the Netherlands. He has appealed that decision and denies involvement in any cyberbullying.

The court in Amsterdam heard that he pretended to be a boy or girl and persuaded his victims to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam, then posted the images online or blackmailed them by threatening to do so. He was accused of abusing 34 girls and five gay men, behaviour the court called "astonishing.'' In some cases, the abuse lasted years.

In Canada, Coban faces a separate trial in the cyberbullying of Todd, a 15-year-old girl from Port Coquitlam, B.C., whose suicide drew global attention to online abuse.

Todd's mother, Carol, travelled to Amsterdam for part of the trial and expressed her relief Thursday at the outcome.

"I am grateful to the judges that they looked over all evidence and the testimony and realized that this person was guilty,'' she said in an interview from Winnipeg. ``I am saddened that someone has to go through those behaviours in order to bring joy to himself.''

In the Canadian case, Coban faces charges including extortion, possession of child pornography and attempting to lure a child online.

Carol Todd said it is important for the case to be tried in Canada.

"There's a lot of people who are looking for some satisfaction to this story, the end result, so it's not only for me. It's for all those others who have followed it and felt deeply about it for whatever reason. Amanda's story has touched the hearts of many.''

Amanda Todd brought cyberbullying to mainstream attention by posting a video on YouTube in which she told her story with handwritten signs, describing how she was lured by a stranger to expose her breasts on a webcam.

The picture ended up on a Facebook page made by the stranger and she was repeatedly bullied, despite changing schools. She took her own life weeks after posting the video.