Boy smuggled to Spain in a suitcase | News | DW | 08.05.2015
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Boy smuggled to Spain in a suitcase

Two people have been arrested for trying to cross a Spanish-Moroccan border with an 8-year-old hidden inside a suitcase. The police have said that the boy was in a "terrible state."

Police in Ceuta, a Spanish exclave in northern Africa, found an 8-year-old boy from Ivory Coast hidden in a suitcase in an attempt to smuggle him across the border onto European territory, an official said Friday. A young woman was arrested after she took the case through a pedestrian crossing between Morocco and Ceuta, said the Civil Guard police force.

"When they put the suitcase through the scanner, the operator noticed something strange, which seemed to be a person inside the case," a Civil Guard spokesman told French news agency AFP, adding that "when it was opened they found a minor, in a terrible state."

The woman, who was due to appear before court, turned out to be married to the boy's father, who was also arrested trying to cross the border a few hours later. While both the father and his wife had Spanish residence rights, according to a local court the boy did not.

A Ceuta magistrate ordered the father to be held on charges of human rights abuse on Friday.

Thousands of migrants and asylum seekers risk their lives each year trying to access Ceuta and Melilla, another Spanish territory bordering Morocco. Many try to make it over the 7-meter (23-foot) fence separating the Spanish cities from Morocco. Others attempt to make the border crossing by hiding in vehicles or swimming from the Moroccan side.

Earlier this week, a 23-year-old Moroccan was found in a shipping container in Melilla, severely dehydrated after four days without food or drink when the container was left unattended over the May Day holiday weekend.

es/bw (AFP, AP)

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