The Ceuta Prosecutor’s Office has denounced this Friday the Government delegate in the autonomous city, Salvadora Mateos, and the vice president of the local Executive, Mabel Deu (PP), for an alleged continued crime of administrative prevarication during the expulsion to Morocco in August of last year in a “concerted” manner and “knowingly being in breach of the legal system” of several dozen unaccompanied migrant minors who had entered Spanish territory in May. The Public Ministry thus opens criminal proceedings against both policies, whose actions have already been sanctioned by the contentious-administrative courts.
Although the Delegation and the City numbered 61 young Moroccans (six over 18 years of age) who were expeditiously returned to their country from the emergency accommodation set up in Ceuta, the Prosecutor’s Office has limited the scope of its complaint to repatriation irregular of 34 minors.
The administrative investigation by the Public Ministry began on October 13 following a complaint by the Association for Integral Development L’Escola. Its president, Nuria González, has announced that she will appear in the proceedings “with the aim of defending the Fundamental Rights of Children in the State”.
Between the months of December and January, the Area Prosecutor’s Office took statements from both Mateos and Deu, the competent counselor for the Protection of Minors, as well as their high-ranking political officials. Once his investigations were completed, he communicated his results to the State Attorney General’s Office.
“The legal provisions and the procedure established in the current legal system were omitted voluntarily and consciously without verifying the concurrence of the legal presuppositions that would allow it in a State of Law”, alerts the formulated complaint, which indicates that the delegate and the vice president could have violated articles 74.1 and 404 of the Penal Code.
The Prosecutor’s Office has concluded that after the migration crisis in May and when it saw the Government of Ceuta “overwhelmed” to attend to the more than 1,200 Moroccan minors who were left alone in the city, Deu “decided to undertake various actions in order to expedite their repatriation”, specifically applying “the Agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco on cooperation in the prevention of illegal emigration of unaccompanied minors, their protection and return” of 2007.
On August 11, at the Tarajal border, the Spanish and Moroccan authorities agreed to implement it, something that had never been done before, despite the fact that article 5 stipulates that the repatriation of any minor should only be done “with strict observance of Spanish legislation, the norms and principles of international law and those established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the competent Spanish authorities”.
“This agreement”, refers to the Prosecutor’s Office in its complaint, to whose content elDiario.es has had access, “was reached verbally and despite the fact that the head of the Minors’ Area of the Autonomous City of Ceuta [Antonia Palomo] made clear once again, on this occasion out loud, his disagreement with that procedure, stating that it was contrary to the national and international legal system”, as was subsequently reiterated by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Ombudsman of the People and multitude of associations and experts.
Ignoring also the reticence that those responsible for the SAMU Foundation, with which the management of some emergency shelters had been contracted, expressed to Deu to convey “their concern about the possible situation of vulnerability of minors, as well as for not preserving their superior interest in that way”.
Despite the official’s reluctance, the two administrations went ahead with a procedure in which “not only were some of the mandatory steps of the procedure omitted, but all of them, since there was no trace of the required file.” “There is no record of the initiation of the procedure, as well as the request for reports on the family situation of the minor, the allegations phase, the hearing process, the evidence phase, not even the resolution agreeing on the repatriation of the minors. [se elaboró un listado de 145] or the communication to the Prosecutor’s Office”, adds the complaint, which must now be admitted for processing or not by the Court to which it corresponds in turn for, if so, to order the proceedings it deems appropriate.
The Contentious Administrative Court number 1 of Ceuta condemned in March the General State Administration to “adopt the necessary measures” to achieve “the return of minors [no acompañados] who were effectively repatriated” to Morocco outside of Spanish legislation, but both the Delegation and the local Executive have appealed to the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia (TSJA) and have warned that they will not try to comply with the verdict until it is final.