Father of “boy in suitcase” spared jail as court imposes fine instead
A father who shocked the world when his eight year-old son was found crammed inside a suitcase in an attempt to get him into Spain has been spared nearly three years in jail.
Ali Ouattara’s son, Adou was only discovered by security officers at the Ceuta border when a scanner picked out his body curled up in the foetal position.
His father, who had a job and home in the Canary Islands at the time, always maintained he had paid 5,000 euros to get his son across the border in a car and had no idea about the suitcase ploy.
But prosecutors did not believe his story and asked for three years in prison in what became known as “the child in the suitcase” case.
Ceuta’s Provincial Court ruled against a jail sentence and imposed a fine of two euros a day to cover a period of three months and 22 days.
Taking into account the 33 days of remand imposed by the judge after his arrest, the amount he will actually pay is 92 euros.
He was prosecuted for a crime against the rights of foreign citizens but the prosecutor’s office withdraw all previous allegations of endangering the youngster’s life.
The boy was discovered in May 2015 when Ali Quattara was living on the Canary island of Gran Canaria, having arrived legally in 2006. He had already managed to bring his wife and daughter over from the Ivory Coast, leaving the boy with his grandmother. When she died, the decision was taken to try and get him to Spain as well.
Ali Ouattara said he paid a Cameroon contact 5,000 euros on the promise the boy would travel legally and certainly not in a suitcase. When opened, the boy simply said: “Je m’appelle Adou.”
Adou himself appeared in court and told of his journey from the Ivory Coast to Casablanca and, from there, to Castillejos near the Ceuta border. He said he thought he would be in a car, not in a case.
The family is now seeking permission for all of them to live in Bilbao.
A 22-year-old Moroccan arrested when the boy was discovered has still to be prosecuted. A woman with him has never been found.