Accused cyberbully denies tormenting Amanda Todd

Accused in Amanda Todd cyberbullying case denies tormenting teen in open letter

  • Jan. 28, 2015 7:00 a.m.
Carol and Norman Todd attend a press conference in April

Carol and Norman Todd attend a press conference in April

By Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – The Dutch man accused of cyberbullying a British Columbia teen who died by suicide has penned an open letter from jail in the Netherlands proclaiming his innocence and denying he was “the so-called tormentor” of Amanda Todd.

Aydin Coban released the four-page, handwritten composition through his lawyer to mark one year of his imprisonment and to address the “many blatant lies” he says have swirled about his case worldwide.

“I’m not the so-called tormentor of Miss. Amanda Todd or of anyone else for that matter. I’ve been in jail exactly a year now for things I haven’t done,” he writes in the letter dated Jan. 13.

“Yet the worldwide media and their audience have been branding me as the monster behind it.”

Todd was a 15-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C., whose image went viral after she died by suicide in October 2012. Not long before her death, she silently used flashcards to recount her disturbing encounters with an online harasser in a video she uploaded to YouTube.

Her story of sexual exploitation spurred a national conversation about online bullying and prompted the Canadian government to introduce legislation that would criminalize the distribution of intimate images without the person’s consent.

Coban, then 35, was apprehended by Dutch police in January 2014 on a host of allegations, including that he encouraged underage girls in several countries to perform sexual acts in front of a web camera.

It wasn’t until last April that it became known Todd was listed among his alleged victims, and authorities in Canada moved in with their own charges.

RCMP want Coban on five charges including extortion, criminal harassment, Internet luring and child pornography.

None of the allegations against Coban have been proven in any court of law.

B.C.’s criminal justice branch said Wednesday it is preparing materials for an application to the federal Justice Department to seek Coban’s extradition, but a spokesman said the case against the man would have to conclude in the Netherlands before he could be tried here.

A spokesman for Mounties in B.C. said the RCMP are not in the position to discuss specifics or evidence while the matter is before the courts.

Coban’s lawyer said in an email that his client wants to tell Canada he is innocent.

“He will speak only to the judges, not the police since they are changing his words in a bad way,” said Christian van Dijk.

With neat script, Coban accuses international media and its audience of committing “character assassination” against him by orchestrating a “hate campaign.”

“A fair trial has been made impossible,” he writes.

He states that he has made use of his right to remain silent until now because police are “blinded by their tunnel vision” and “tried to twist” anything he’s told them.

He provides a detailed analysis of his view of the case against him, including dissecting what he labels “The Facebook Security Report” and “The Dutch National police infecting computers.”

He also gives an alibi for a portion of the time that police in Canada have selected to peg their charges. Coban says he was living in “another city far away” from the computer router connected to the Internet Protocol address in the Netherlands linked to some of the alleged cyber activity.

“This Facebook Security Report used by prosecution as their foundation is poorly founded and incomplete,” he writes lower in the letter. “It’s a report based on hearsay and cherry picking.”

Coban concludes with a description of how he’ll continue to spend his days in detention “productively.”

“I’ve had interesting experiences, met diverse people with colourful life stories, read many books, gave guitar lessons and so forth,” he writes, adding he’s been documenting everything in detail since his arrest one year ago.

“Should be a good read.”

— With files from James Keller.

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