AMSTERDAM — The mother of British Columbia teenager Amanda Todd says she feels numb but happy that a Dutch court has approved the extradition of a man implicated in her daughter’s suicide following relentless cyberbullying.
Carol Todd said learning that Aydin Coban will be sent to face charges in Canada transported her back to October 2012, when her 15-year-old daughter took her own life after Coban allegedly posted nude photos of her online.
“It’s brought me back emotionally, to … when Amanda passed away. It’s really emotional,” Todd’s mother said Tuesday in a phone interview from Denver, Colo., where she was attending a job-related conference.
“I’m numb, but I’m excited that we’ve been able to get this news today,” she said. “I’m really glad that we’ve reached this step.”
The Dutch justice minister must now sign off on the court’s approval, though Coban’s won’t be extradited until after a separate criminal trial in the Netherlands on 72 charges of sexual assault and extortion.
If he is convicted in the Netherlands, Coban could be extradited to Canada for prosecution while still serving his initial sentence, the Dutch prosecution service has said. Any sentence arising from the Canadian proceedings would likely be served in the Netherlands.
The Dutch case involves 39 other alleged victims, many underage and from various countries, including one person from Canada. The case has been repeatedly delayed, and the trial is expected to resume early next year.
In Canada, Coban faces five charges connected to 15-year-old Todd from Port Coquitlam, B.C., including extortion, possession of child pornography and attempting to lure a child online.
Todd’s mother said she hopes the Dutch court’s extradition ruling sends a message to other accused predators that they will be held to account for any criminal behaviour online no matter where it occurs.
However, she expressed frustration at the setbacks in court proceedings.
“I only hope that it gets done because there are other families and kids that are involved in this,” she said, adding she’s prepared to wait as long as necessary for due process for her daughter’s sake.
“It’s important that it’s all done right,” Todd’s mother said.
“I don’t want something to go wrong in the trial due to a technicality and due to not enough time. I want this to be done right because we owe it to Amanda.”
Coban’s previous lawyer, Christian van Dijk, who still follows Coban’s cases closely, said the earliest his former client could be extradited to Canada would be the middle of 2018, after all appeal options are exhausted.
“It’s important that Canada mustn’t expect him to be there within a year,” van Dijk said in a phone interview from Amsterdam.
“I expect him to be there (in) two and a half to three years. That’s important to know, that nobody is thinking that he will come quickly.”
Todd drew global attention to cyberbullying when she posted a YouTube video in 2012 recounting her ordeal.
Her death has had a far-reaching impact in Canada, helping spur the federal government to introduce anti-bullying legislation. The law came into effect in March 2015 and made it a crime to distribute intimate images without consent.