Court says Internet baby to be taken into care

AMSTERDAM Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:46pm EST

Babies rest on a bed inside a maternity ward at a hospital in Manila November 14, 2008. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Babies rest on a bed inside a maternity ward at a hospital in Manila November 14, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Whiteside

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Belgian baby bought over the Internet for adoption by a Dutch couple must be placed in the temporary care of the Dutch authorities, a court ruled on Thursday.

According to media reports, the couple bought the boy in July from a Belgian couple in Ghent. One TV report said between 5,000 and 10,000 euros (4,188 pounds to 8,376 pounds) was paid.

The Dutch couple denies buying the baby, saying on Dutch TV that they only paid the pregnancy costs incurred by the parents.

The court in the Dutch city of Zwolle said the couple had broken the laws for adopting foreign children, and had to hand the baby over to child welfare authorities.

The Council for the Protection of Children, part of the Netherlands' Justice Ministry, had asked the court to place the baby boy into temporary custody until a decision was made by the Belgian authorities on what to do with him.

"Clarity over your family history is of fundamental importance for a child growing up. Obscuring your true identity is harmful," the council said in a statement.

The public prosecution office in the Netherlands has started an investigation into the case, while Belgian authorities are also making inquiries, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby and Aaron Gray-Block)

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