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Charla Huber: Amanda Todd's sextortion predator needs a global sentence

If there are victims in several countries, each country should be able to prosecute, and if proven guilty, bad actors should be serving sentences from every jurisdiction where their victims live.
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Aydin Coban is pictured in a courtroom sketch when he was on trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in June. An 11-year sentence for Coban is not justice and is not a large enough deterrent for others, writes Charla Huber. Jane Wolsak, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Amanda Todd would be 26 years old if she had lived. She died by suicide at the age of 15.

This week, we learned that Aydin Coban, the man convicted of harassing and sextorting the B.C. teen for years until she took her own life, has been returned to the Netherlands.

Coban was convicted of similar crimes against more than 30 teens by a Dutch court and received a nearly 11-year sentence. He was extradited to Canada for trial on the Canadian charges and received a 13-year sentence.

Now that he’s back in the Netherlands, a Dutch judge will determine if Coban will be required to serve the Canadian sentence after he’s served his Dutch ­sentence.

It has been reported that the Dutch ­sentence was the maximum amount a Dutch court could give him, and a Dutch judge may determine that he cannot be sentenced further and may not serve time for the Canadian conviction.

We are global citizens, and Coban has been proven to be a global ­predator who spent years preying on young, ­inexperienced and naïve youth around the world.

There is no denying that cyber crimes are on the rise. Whether it’s ­phishing, extortion or sextortion, there are ­significant challenges in holding bad actors accountable.

In many different facets of my career, I’ve heard, seen and been exposed to ­situations that demonstrate these ­challenges. The biggest challenge is ­jurisdiction.

Crimes on the internet have ­victims, but the perpetrators can hide behind ­anonymity and act from different ­communities, countries and even ­continents. Victims can reach out to their local authorities, but those authorities often can’t get jurisdiction or don’t have the resources to pursue the cases and seek accountability from someone who could be anywhere across the globe.

I was surprised that in Todd’s case, authorities were able to identify Coban, and even bring him to Canada for a trial.

Criminals need to know that they can’t hide behind the internet and prey on ­people. If there are victims in several countries, each country should be able to prosecute, and if proven guilty, bad actors should be serving sentences from every jurisdiction where their victims live.

I know this is a small column that I write, and I know it doesn’t have the reach that a topic like this deserves, but I hope that the Dutch courts can set a new precedent that holds Coban accountable.

There was a time when courts did not think it was possible to rape a spouse. There were times where slavery was legal.

Just because something may not be the norm doesn’t mean we can’t work ­collectively to take a stand.

Coban has dozens of victims that have been identified, both female and male. Eleven years is not justice and is not a large enough deterrent for others.

If Coban was sentenced to 13 years each — the Canadian sentence he received in the Todd case — for at least 30 victims, his sentence would total 390 years.

Todd’s family has served 11 years of the loss of their young family member.

I understand that there are ­maximum sentences in different jurisdictions, and I support that. I also believe that all ­victims, regardless of their country of residence, should have the ­opportunity for justice, and predators who are destroying the lives of young victims and their families need to be held ­accountable.

Coban didn’t just commit a crime in the Netherlands; he committed many global crimes, with global victims that spanned years.

We are global citizens, and we need to be united to keep youth safe, no matter where they live.

charlahuber@outloook.com

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