X-ray reveals 8 year-old migrant boy smuggled in suitcase

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Guardia Civil handout via Twitter

MADRID — A Spanish court has ordered the detention of a man from the Ivory Coast who allegedly attempted to smuggle his 8-year-old son into Europe in a suitcase.

A police statement said guards stopped a 19-year-old Moroccan woman who looked nervous as she waited in line Thursday at the land border crossing in Ceuta, a Spanish city enclave in North Africa.

“She seemed to hesitate, and it looked as though she didn’t want to come through the border, BBC reported a police spokesperson telling the Spanish news agency Efe. “At first we thought that there could be drug packages, but gradually discovered that it was a human body.”

When the guards put her suitcase through a scanner, they detected the boy curled up inside.

The Guardia Civil said that the 8 year-old, named Abou, was in a “terrible state” when they found him and the situation “could have ended tragically.”

According to Global News, police suspect the boy’s 42-year-old father — who lives in Spain’s Canary Islands, off Morocco’s west coast — paid the woman to act as a courier and smuggle the boy into Ceuta so they could be reunited.

Border officers detained the woman and, later, the child’s father at the same border crossing. The woman is married to the father, and both had residence rights in Spain. The court said the boy did not.

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