IMMIGRATION

‘Suitcase boy’ could not enter Spain legally as father earned €41 too little

Eight-year-old has been reunited with his mother at a juvenile center in Ceuta

The boy after he was detected by the security scanner at the Ceuta border.
The boy after he was detected by the security scanner at the Ceuta border.

The father of an eight-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who was found earlier this month trying to cross into the Spanish exclave of Ceuta inside a suitcase was unable to bring him into the country legally because his monthly salary was €41 short.

Ali Outara, who has lived on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura for the past nine years, told a judge on Monday that he had not been allowed to bring his son Adou to Spain because he could not demonstrate that he earned the requisite €1,331 a month that would enable him to do so under Spanish law. Instead he earns €1,290 a month.

The boy was sick and the only thing he wanted was to bring him over as soon as possible”

Outara, who has been in police custody since his son was apprehended trying to cross into Ceuta illegally on May 7, says he paid around €5,000 to get the child across the Spanish border, but did not know in advance that he would be hidden inside a suitcase.

Appearing before a Ceuta court for the second time, he told the judge that the family was in a desperate situation. “The boy was sick and the only thing he wanted was to bring him over as soon as possible,” his lawyer Juan Isidro Fernández explained. “He had already brought his daughter but a small bureaucratic problem meant he was unable to bring his son.”

Fernández said that everything had been cut short “for the sake of a few euros,” adding that he believed Adou’s parents could have appealed the decision, but had been unaware that there was such a possibility.

He also requested that Outara be released on bail, arguing that he was not a flight risk.

Outara’s lawyer requested that his client be released on bail, arguing that he was not a flight risk

Adou, who has been under state care in a Ceuta juvenile center since his discovery at the Tarajal border crossing, finally got to see his mother Lucille on Monday.

The mother, who submitted to a DNA test and brought with her an Ivory Coast birth certificate to prove her relationship with her son, has requested to be given back custody, “which in reality she never lost,” since, according to her defense, “she has been far removed from all of this because she was living in Fuerteventura.”

“The boy has to be with her, because what we want is for the family to be reunited as soon as possible and that is the important thing,” Fernández said.

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