The story of this little Ivorian had moved the whole world.
On May 7, 2015, at a border post in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Morocco, a particularly heavy baggage carried by a young Moroccan girl had been X-rayed. Stunned, the civil guards had seen a frail, crumpled silhouette appear on fetal position.
The picture of this eight-year-old named Adou, hiding in a suitcase hoping to enter Europe via the southern border, had travelled around the world.
Nearly three years later, his father, Ali Ouattara, was tried yesterday, Tuesday by the court of Ceuta. He finally sentenced him to a fine of 92 euros fine.
However, the prosecution had asked for three years in prison against the 45-year-old man.
“The life of the child had been endangered, inhumanly curled up in a very small suitcase without ventilation”, had first read by the Chief Judge of the court, Fernando Teson, summing up an argument of the prosecution.
But the prosecutor has finally requested a fine of 224 euros, because it has not been proven that the defendant “knew how his son was going to be introduced into the country.”
The judges sentenced the accused to a fine of 92 euros, taking into account that he had spent a month in pre-trial detention.
The story of the child, Adou, now ten years old, influenced their decision. The boy admitted that he was “breathing badly”.
But he completely exonerated his father who had told him that he would “drive” and had never talked about putting him in a suitcase, and Ali Ouattara had previously explained that he had paid 5,000 euros for a network of smugglers, to bring his son at any cost in Spain.
He recalled that at the time of the case, he lived for eight years in Spain – with a residence permit, a stable job and a home – and was able to bring his wife and daughter but not her youngest, the Spanish administration considered that his 1,300 euro salary was not enough to make them live all.
The young Moroccan woman who carried the baggage is wanted by the courts, and the prosecution demands six years in prison against her.
Ali Ouattara, a former professor of philosophy and French in Abidjan, arrived in Spain in 2006, clandestinely by sea, as thousands of Africans do every year aboard makeshift boats.
“We will begin to live again,” he concluded, “together, my wife, my daughter, my son and I in Bilbao” in the Spanish Basque Country.