Ivory Coast 'boy in the suitcase' trial begins today

Brunilde Fioravanti
Febbraio 21, 2018

A MAN accused of trying to smuggle his son into Spain in a suitcase goes on trial today.

The trial took place in Ceuta, a Spanish territory in Morocco which migrants from Africa regularly try to reach by scaling high border fences or smuggled through in cars.

Ali Ouattara, 45 (centre) talks with his lawyer Juan Isidro Fernandez (right) in court during his trial in Ceuta.

Prosecutors are seeking a three-year prison term for Ali Ouattara for facilitating his son's illegal entry into Europe and endangering the child's life.

Adou said Ouattara had told him he would be taken "by car", and that there had never been any mention of a suitcase.

The boy was found in May 2015, when officials at the border crossing between Morocco and Ceuta stopped a young woman dragging a heavy suitcase.

"Neither my father nor I knew that they were going to put me in a suitcase", the boy, now 10, told judges.

The desperate smuggling attempt was a first in Ceuta.

Adou was soon reunited with his mother, and his father, who had been waiting for his son on the Spanish side of the border, was arrested shortly after the police discovery.

While his wife and daughter were able to join him, the Spanish authorities had rejected four requests for Adou to come because they deemed the father's 1,300 euro ($1,600) monthly salary insufficient to cover the family's needs.

He said his father, who spent a month behind bars, had always told him the journey from Morocco to Spain would be made by auto.

He claimed the traffickers had initially promised to fly the boy from the Ivory coast to Madrid but then told him they would instead travel via Ceuta by auto.

A former philosophy and French teacher in Abidjan, Ouattara arrived illegally in Spain in 2006, making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean aboard a boat.

His wife, daughter and Adou are now living in France, but Ali is still in Spain as he is barred from leaving the country pending the trial. Click any of these buttons below!

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