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02 octubre 2008 - Media release

INTERPOL applauds Spanish break-up of international Internet paedophile ring

LYON, France – The actions of Spanish law enforcement authorities in arresting 121 people in the country's biggest-ever operation against child sex abuse on the Internet have been praised by INTERPOL, the world’s largest police organization.

The arrests, made as part of Operation Carousel over the past seven days, were part of a long-term international operation which began in July last year with the help of Brazilian police agents and in co-ordination with INTERPOL.

Millions of images depicting scenes of child sex abuse were reportedly seized by more than 800 police officers in nationwide raids in Spain, which uncovered an international file-sharing network spanning 75 countries, some of whose images were reported to be of an extreme nature.

Police said two of those held allegedly used their own children to produce sex abuse images, and that a further 96 people were being investigated for possessing and distributing images depicting child sex abuse.

With Spanish authorities saying that foreign leads in the international probe would be followed up through INTERPOL, the organization’s Secretary General, Ronald K. Noble, said that the global scope of INTERPOL’s reach and its strength in drawing on a network of global experts and international databases would facilitate information-sharing and co-ordination amongst its 186 member countries in the investigation.

'The sexual abuse of the young and innocent is a particularly vile crime, and INTERPOL will do its utmost through its global network of law enforcement services and tools to bring all perpetrators of such crimes to justice,' Secretary General Noble said.

'Unfortunately, with similar cases likely in other countries, what we must do at all times as a matter of protocol is to ensure that countries share all relevant leads and information so that we can connect all of the dots and do our utmost to protect the children in our communities.'

The raids in Spain – in which 347 hard drives, 1,186 CDs and DVDs and 36 laptops were reportedly seized – bring to 1,200 the number of people arrested for offences related to child sex abuse images in Spain over the past five years. Police said those arrested included airline pilots, bank clerks and taxi drivers, as well as a number of foreigners resident in Spain.