Six African migrants gang-raped a 12-year-old girl in a small town near Madrid, but Spanish authorities kept information about the crime hidden from the public for more than a year, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.
On March 15, 2018, the 12-year-old girl was playing in a park in Azuqueca de Henares with several other girls when, at around one o’clock in the afternoon, six migrants — five Moroccans and one Nigerian — approached the playground. They carried two of the girls off to a nearby abandoned building, but then let one of them go after discovering that she was a Muslim. The migrants, aged between 15 and 20, grabbed the 12-year-old by her arms and legs and took turns raping her, first anally and then vaginally, for nearly an hour.
The public was not informed about the crime until March 20, 2019, when the newspaper El Mundo published the results of an investigation. According to the report, Spanish prosecutors and judges secretly decided that three of the minors will be held in a young offender institution for three years and then be “reinserted” into Spanish society rather than be deported. One of the adults is being held in preventive detention; the other adults were released.
The gang rape has cast a spotlight on spiraling migrant criminality in Spain, where “progressive” immigration policies — promoted by all the mainstream political parties and opposed only by the populist party Vox — are fueling an influx of illegal migration from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The gang rape has also cast a spotlight on a lenient justice system that routinely releases migrant criminals back onto the streets.
Reliable statistics on migrant-related crimes are unavailable: the data compiled by the Spanish Interior Ministry on specific categories of crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, etc.) do not break down the offenders by nationality.
In addition, different Interior Ministry databases produce different results on the actual number of crimes. One database, for instance, shows that there were 332 homicides in Spain in 2017, while another shows that there were 308. One database shows that there were 865 rapes in 2017, while another shows that there were 1,382 — a difference of 60%.
The official Spanish statistics agency (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE) shows that immigrants comprise roughly 10% of the overall Spanish population, but 32% of the Spanish prison population. The INE does not break the statistics down by the nationality of the inmates, although Interior Ministry data show that the majority of immigrants arrested in 2017 were from just two countries: Romania (18,032) and Morocco (17,464).
Despite the lack of official statistics, anecdotal evidence found in the crime reports of local newspapers shows that migrant criminality — ranging from petty theft to sexual assault to murder — is a growing problem nationwide.
In Barcelona, for example, 15 members of a North African itinerant crime gang known as “Allah’s Wolfpack” sexually assaulted a woman at a metro station. The migrants, some of whom are unaccompanied minors and all of whom are in Spain illegally, had long rap sheets and were well known to the police.
The attack, which occurred in the Barcelona suburb of Santa Coloma on November 11, 2018, took place when a couple attempted to exit the Can Peixauet subway station. The youths, from Morocco and Algeria, hurled insults and verbal abuse at the couple as they walked off a train, then followed the pair into an elevator, where they assaulted the woman and stabbed her male companion.
Police later found the youths in a nearby abandoned building, where they had been squatting for months, and where they had previously been arrested in connection with a series of robberies in the area. Police also said the youths were infected with scabies, which required police to activate a special decontamination protocol for the officers involved, the police vehicles and the jail cells. Eight of the 15 youths have since been released from police custody and are back on the street.
Migrant gang rapes have become increasingly common in Spain:
- Alicante, April 16. Three Algerians gang-raped a 19-year-old woman. One of the men was arrested at the Alicante airport while trying to flee the country.
- Tarragona, March 28. Eleven underage migrants were arrested for gang-raping a girl at the Roman amphitheater. Of the 11, only one was remanded in custody.
- Alicante, March 26. Four underage Moroccans gang-raped an underage girl. They filmed the rape and then demanded that the girl pay 50 euros to avoid having the video posted online.
- Alicante, March 22. Ten Algerians were arrested for gang-raping three girls aged between 14 and 17. Police said that the gang members sustained themselves by robbing homes and businesses and later selling the stolen items on the black market.
- Sabadell, February 2. Eight Moroccans gang-raped an 18-year-old woman in an abandoned warehouse. The woman was celebrating her birthday when she became separated from her friends. The Moroccans, aged between 21 and 53, were homeless and squatting in the warehouse. Of the eight, only two were remanded in custody.
- Algeciras, January 6. Three Dominicans were arrested for gang-raping a 14-year-old girl.
- Benidorm, January 5. Four Ecuadorians were arrested for drugging and gang-raping a 19-year-old woman on New Year’s Eve.
The victims of migrant-related sex crimes often are young children and teenagers as well as elderly women:
- Barcelona, May 18. A 36-year-old Dominican drug dealer was arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl in the Raval district.
- Valencia, May 16. A Bolivian man was arrested for repeatedly raping his 14-year-old daughter.
- Granada, April 17. A 45-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after masturbating in front of children during a Holy Week procession.
- Salt (Girona), April 4. A 42-year-old Malian man was arrested for sexually abusing his 14-year-old daughter.
- Hospitalet de Llobregat, March 11. A 25-year-old Indian man was arrested for raping an underage girl he had groomed on social media.
- Sagunto (Valencia), February 23. A 24-year-old Ecuadorian man charged with repeatedly raping a 16-year-old girl justified the crime by telling the judge, ” I am the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and I have documents to prove it.”
- Valencia, February 22. A Honduran man was sentenced to four years in prison for being in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. The age of consent in Spain is 16.
- Sils (Girona), February 20. Three men, including one from Venezuela, attempted to kidnap a 12-year-old child as she was leaving school.
- Berga (Barcelona), February 18. A 33-year-old Senegalese migrant was arrested for sexually assaulting a 72-year-old woman.
- Barcelona, February 7. A 40-year-old imam at a mosque was charged with anally raping a 13-year-old boy during a Koran lesson.
- Blanes (Girona), February 6. A 24-year-old Senegalese migrant was arrested for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.
- Beniel (Murcia), February 5. A 34-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after he grabbed the breasts of two girls at an outdoor festival.
- Sant Josep (Ibiza), February 2. A 48-year-old Moroccan was arrested for sexually assaulting an 87-year-old woman in her home. The man broke into her home and after verifying that she was alone, he threw her to the ground and sexually assaulted her. The woman suffered severe trauma to her face. Police said the same man had sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman in nearby Sant Antoni in April 2018.
- Leganés, January 28. A Pakistani man was arrested for sexually assaulting two teenage girls in his home. The man lured the girls by placing false advertisements in which he said he was looking for child care and housecleaning services.
- Archena (Murcia), January 27. A 38-year-old Guatemalan man was arrested for sexually abusing his 11-year-old stepdaughter.
- León, January 19. A Senegalese migrant was arrested for soliciting the prostitution of a 16-year-old girl. He offered her money and asked how much she charged per night.
- Santomera (Murcia), January 15. An Algerian man was arrested for making sexual propositions to a group of children and inviting them to his home.
- Valencia, January 12. A Colombian man was arrested for drugging a 16-year-old girl and attempting to rape her.
Other migrant-related sex crimes in Spain include:
- Valencia, May 17. An 18-year-old Moroccan was arrested for raping an 18-year-old Belgian tourist.
- Madrid, May 10. A 27-year-old Guinean man was arrested for sexually assaulting three woman at a night club in Carabanchel.
- Martorell, May 9. A 40-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for attempting to rape three women who were jogging along the banks of the Llobregat River. A local judge sent the man to a mental health clinic.
- Barcelona, April 19. A 32-year-old French citizen of Moroccan origin raped a 37-year-old Portuguese woman in the gardens of the Maritime Museum, located just off La Rambla, one of the top tourist attractions in Barcelona. The rapist bit off his victim’s ear, broke her arm and left her badly bruised. Police delivered the severed ear to a local hospital, where doctors performed reconstructive surgery. A week before the attack, local residents had alerted police to the man’s aggressive behavior. He was arrested three times and released. Some believe that with stricter law enforcement, the attack could have been prevented.
- Murcia, April 15. Two Moroccans, aged 21 and 26, were arrested for kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 18-year-old transsexual.
- El Vendrell (Tarragona), April 8. A 23-year-old Dominican man was arrested for raping a 32-year-old woman in the entrance to her apartment building.
- Crevillent (Alicante), March 5. A 32-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for stalking and sexually assaulting several women on city streets.
- Bermeo, March 4. A sub-Saharan African attempted to rape a woman in the town center.
- La Palma del Condado (Huelva), February 27. A Romanian man was arrested for sexually assaulting two women in a public park.
- Lloret de Mar (Girona), February 23. A 23-year-old Moroccan man raped a woman in an ATM booth.
- Lorca, February 26. A 31-year-old Moroccan man attempted to rape a woman he ambushed from behind.
- Madrid, February 26. A 31-year-old Romanian man was arrested for sexually assaulting at least five women near the Tres Cantos railway station.
- Valencia, February 24. A 48-year-old Pakistani man attempted to rape a woman in a parking garage.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife, February 22. A Moroccan man was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman in front of a refugee shelter. When the woman’s boyfriend intervened, he was attacked with blows to the head.
- Pamplona, February 19. Three Romanians, aged 17 and 18, were arrested for sexually assaulting a woman in the restroom of a bar.
- Palencia, February 14. A 36-year-old Peruvian man was arrested for sexually assaulting his partner’s daughter.
- Marbella, February 13. A 35-year-old Chinese man was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman on two separate occasions. Both times, the man tied with woman with a rope and gagged her. He beat her, sexually assaulted her and then used her cell phone to transfer money from her bank account.
- Beniaján (Murcia), February 12. A Moroccan man raped a 37-year-old woman he had met a few days earlier. In May, three men had also been arrested for gang raping a woman in the same town.
- Villaviciosa de Odón (Madrid), February 9. A 21-year-old Cameroonian man raped a 21-year-old British student. The man, who arrived in Spain as a political refugee, had received free housing and social assistance for a year while his asylum application was processed.
- Marbella, February 8. A Senegalese man attempted to rape a waitress at a restaurant. The man entered the establishment at around 11AM and began flirting with the woman, who told him that she was married. The man left. Shortly thereafter, she stepped outside to make some purchases at a nearby supermarket when the man ambushed her and tried to rape her.
- Cádiz, February 7. A 19-year-old Guinean migrant was arrested after he repeatedly flashed his genitals at passersby. Police said he was in the country illegally.
- Palma de Mallorca, February 4. A 42-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after he repeatedly grabbed the breasts of female passersby at the central train station.
- Capdepera (Majorca), January 22. A 25-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for sexually assaulting a 39-year-old woman who was riding her bicycle.
- Culleredo, January 21. A Peruvian man sexually assaulted a woman on a regional bus.
- Guadalajara, January 20. A 25-year-old Algerian man was arrested for attempting to rape a 40-year-old woman.
- Formentera, January 20. A woman was sexually assaulted by two men who seemed South American or Moroccan in appearance.
- Mataró, January 14. A Moroccan man sexually assaulted a woman in a parking garage.
- Safor (Valencia), January 11. A Pakistani man was arrested for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter. While traveling on a bus to Italy, he was detained at a police checkpoint.
- Valencia, January 9. A Lebanese man was arrested for drugging and raping a 20-year-old woman on New Year’s Eve.
- Villajoyosa (Alicante), January 8. A 29-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at Hospital de la Marina Baixa by two men who appeared to be Moroccan. The hospital has been the scene of several sexual assaults: workers must walk along a dark road when going from the hospital to the parking garage.
- Mislata (Valencia), January 5. A 28-year-old Colombian drugged and raped a 16-year-old girl.
- Burriana (Castellon), January 2. Two Romanian men were arrested for kidnapping and raping a 17-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve.
- Valencia, January 1. An 18-year-old Guinean sexually assaulted a female street cleaner.
Migrant-related honor crimes and domestic violence:
- Madrid, May 6. A Moroccan man stabbed to death his fiancé, a 47-year-old Spanish woman named Juana U.M. Police said the man, who has a long criminal record, with at least 30 prior convictions, is believed to have fled to Morocco to evade Spanish justice.
- Granada, May 17. A 36-year-old Moroccan man stabbed and seriously injured his 32-year-old ex-wife.
- Sueca (Valencia), April 1. A 40-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for kidnapping and physically assaulting his wife and daughters.
- Tudela, February 21. An Algerian man was arrested after he threatened to kill his wife.
- Burriana, February 20. A Moroccan man physically assaulted his 18-year-old daughter because she had a conversation with a male classmate.
- Totana (Murcia), February 3. A 41-year-old Ecuadoran was arrested for beating and raping his 31-year-old girlfriend after she refused to have sex with him.
- Reus, February 1. A 19-year-old Dominican man decapitated his wife and then committed suicide by jumping from a fifth-floor window.
- Salamanca, January 28. A 31-year-old Colombian man was arrested for physically assaulting his wife in the middle of the street.
- Mula (Murcia), January 27. A Bolivian woman was arrested for physically assaulting her 15-year-old daughter. Police said that the girl had been whipped with a leather belt every day for two years at the hands of her mother and older brother.
- El Palmar (Murcia), January 25. A 50-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for physically assaulting and threatening to kill his wife after she said she wanted a divorce.
- Bonavista (Tarragona), January 20. A 44-year-old Argentinian man was arrested for pushing his wife from a third-floor balcony.
- Vigo, January 14. A 41-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after threatening to kill his wife. The couple got into an argument after he accused her of spending too much time talking with the neighbors.
- Murcia, January 8. A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for assaulting his wife and forcing her to hide in a closet.
- Vilagarcía (Pontevedra), January 7. A 60-year-old Romanian man physically assaulted his wife at a public park.
- Salamanca, January 7. A Moroccan man stabbed his pregnant wife.
- Laredo, January 3. A 29-year-old Ecuadorian stabbed to death his ex-girlfriend.
- Madrid, January 2. A 41-year-old Ecuadorian serious injured his wife after beating her with a metal broomstick.
Underage unaccompanied migrants — known in Spain as Menas (menores extranjeros no acompañados) — are also engaged in criminal activity:
- Barcelona, May 12. A group of 40 Menas squatted in an entire five-story apartment building in front of a police station. The Menas insulted and threatened police who approached the building.
- Zaragoza, April 27. A 15-year-old Mena was arrested after punching a woman in the face and breaking her nose while trying to rob her cellphone. He then assaulted and injured three police officers who tried to arrest him.
- Zaragoza, March 14. Three Menas were arrested for physically assaulting their tutor.
- Melilla, March 12. Fifteen Menas physically assaulted a police officer.
- Valencia, March 11. Three Algerian Menas who were on the run from French authorities were arrested after they boarded a train without a ticket. The Menas had stabbed and tortured two other Algerians in the French city of Lyon. One of their victims died in the March 5 attack, which was filmed and shared by the Menas on social media.
- Palma de Mallorca, February 25. An Algerian Mena sexually assaulted his 24-year-old teacher at a migrant shelter. The boy, completely naked, pushed the woman into a bathroom.
- Palma de Mallorca, February 14. Two Algerian Menas were arrested for sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence and making threats against neighbors and the staff at an asylum shelter.
- Arenys de Mar (Barcelona), February 10. Three Menas physically assaulted and robbed town counsellor Susanna Mir of PDeCat, a Catalan independence party. All three of the attackers were repeat offenders, known to police.
- Barcelona, February 7. A Moroccan Mena was arrested for raping six women between the ages of 40 and 78.
- Zaragoza, January 10. Three Menas were arrested for assaulting police officers and attempting to rob a 58-year-old woman.
Some migrant criminals are serial offenders:
- Tarragona, May 8. A 36-year-old Moroccan man was arrested after breaking into seven cars in one night. Although he has a long criminal record, with at least 17 different prior convictions, he was released.
- Salou (Tarragona), May 7. A 67-year-old Algerian man was arrested for stealing a purse containing two high-end cellphones. Police said the man has a long criminal record, with at least 170 prior convictions.
- Gijón, April 18. A 24-year-old Algerian was arrested after breaking into more than 20 cars in one week.
- Usurbil (Gipuzkoa), April 3. A 47-year-old Algerian gang leader was arrested for the fourth time in five years for stealing cars and robbing homes across the Basque Country. The gang is responsible for around 100 car thefts and 200 burglaries since 2013, according to police.
- Madrid, March 29. Eight members of a Moroccan gang were arrested for stealing 57 cars and vans and reselling them in Africa.
- Gijón, March 22. A Moroccan was arrested for robbing a woman of her purse. The man, who dragged the woman along the ground for several meters before seizing her purse, has a long criminal record, according to local police.
- Beniaján (Murcia), March 14. A 24-year-old Moroccan was arrested for breaking into more than 50 cars and stealing computer equipment, cellphones, and watches, among other items.
- Leganes, February 9. A Polish man was arrested for trying to rape a woman as she was leaving her office. Police said the man has a long criminal record, with at least 18 different prior convictions.
- El Ejido (Almería), January 6. An 18-year-old Moroccan, illegally in Spain, was arrested for sexual assault. Police said he was responsible for at least six armed robberies.
Elderly and handicapped persons are also increasingly victims of migrant-related assaults and robberies:
- Vitoria-Gasteiz, May 14. A 75-year-old woman died of injuries sustained when she was assaulted and robbed by two Moroccans at the entrance to her apartment building.
- L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona), April 26. A 52-year-old Algerian man was arrested for brutally assaulting a 91-year-old woman. The woman was walking with her son in the early afternoon when the Algerian man pulled a metal bar from a shopping cart and began striking her. She was hospitalized and received more than 100 stitches to her head and neck. Police said the Algerian man was homeless and had mental health problems.
- Gandia, April 26. A 22-year-old Pakistani man was arrested for assaulting and robbing a handicapped man. After confessing to the crime, a judge handed him an eight-month suspended sentence, apparently because he was a first-time offender. A few hours later, also in Gandia, the same man was accused of sexually assaulting and robbing a woman.
- Jerez de la Frontera, April 24. A 34-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for assaulting and robbing an elderly couple, aged 81 and 83, at the entrance to their home.
- Cieza (Murcia), April 3. An undocumented immigrant was arrested for robbing several elderly women.
- Cantabria and Vizcaya, March 12. Two Algerians, aged 45 and 51, were arrested for robbing the homes of 35 elderly women. The Algerians, posing as plumbers, gained access to the homes by pretending to carry out repairs.
- Lérida, February 16. A 48-year-old Algerian was arrested for robbing six elderly women. On November 9, he was arrested for robbing two women, aged 70 and 84. Police said the man had robbed at least 17 others the same way: he would stalk his victims, all elderly, as they returned home from the grocery store. He would then gain access to their buildings by offering to help them hold the door or carry bags for them.
Other migrant-related homicides, aggravated assaults and violent robberies include:
- Cobeña (Madrid), May 3. Two Dominican gang members were arrested for murdering a 20- year-old student during a fight at a local festival. Police said the gang, dedicated to stealing wallets and cellphones during festivals, routinely rob between 80 and 100 people each night.
- San Sebastian, April 28. Basque police arrested seven people, including three Romanians and two Moroccans, after a 17-year-old boy was killed during a brawl at a well-known discotheque.
- Vigo, April 24. A Moroccan man stabbed a female passerby after she refused to hand over her purse.
- Madrid, April 11. A large gang of Moroccan youths physically assaulted a 15-year-old boy after he “looked” at two girls from the group. The boy suffered serious injuries to his eyes, cheekbone and jaw and teeth. The boy’s mother said that the gang has up to 50 members, aged between 14 and 20, who have been terrorizing the Congosto neighborhood in southern Madrid for more than a year. “Gang members wait outside schools,” the boy’s mother said. “They carry chains and clubs to beat students. They shove the elderly and steal their shopping bags. We need a solution because things cannot continue as they are.” Another parent added: “They attack and steal as a hobby. Early in the afternoon, or late at night. In one area of the neighborhood, or in another. That is the worst. There is no way to guarantee that your children are safe anywhere. The gang has been taking control of Congosto because of police passivity. It is unbearable.”
- Rojales (Alicante), April 2. A 49-year-old Hungarian man murdered his 39-year-old Hungarian wife at their home.
- Almería, March 27. A Moroccan man, illegal in Spain, was sentenced to one year in prison for physically assaulting a prostitute after she refused to give him free sex.
- Sant Carles de la Ràpita (Tarragona), March 18. A 25-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for kidnapping his wife and demanding a ransom of 5,000 euros.
- Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, March 12. Two Moroccans, aged 19 and 41, were arrested for committing a series of assaults and robberies.
- Alcorcón, March 9. A 20-year-old Moroccan and a 20-year-old Dominican were arrested for stabbing a 21-year-old Dominican in the neck.
- Tarragona, March 7. Two Moroccans kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach after she refused to hand over her backpack.
- Cieza (Murcia), March 7. Two Moroccans with outstanding deportation orders were arrested after breaking into an automobile.
- Tarifa, March 5. Three Moroccans assaulted and robbed an elderly couple.
- A Coruña, March 3. A Moroccan and a man with Portuguese citizenship were arrested for robbing a pharmacy and a dental clinic.
- Valencia, March 1. A 20-year-old Guinean man was arrested for robbing a woman of 20 euros. The man attacked the woman from behind, grabbed her neck and rendered her unconscious.
- Elche, February 18. Three teenagers, one from Algeria, one from Ecuador and another with Spanish citizenship, were arrested for violently robbing a woman of her purse.
- Jaén, February 15. A 19-year-old Moroccan arrested for physically assaulting his wife escaped from police custody.
- Lepe (Huelva), February 4. A 28-year-old Moroccan, who was in Spain illegally and had a pending deportation order, physically assaulted a woman and seized her purse. When police tried to arrest him, he became violent and assaulted the police. He is also believed to be responsible for numerous property thefts.
- Palma de Mallorca, February 3. Four Algerians, one Moroccan and another man with Spanish citizenship were arrested after physically attacking and robbing a man who had just won 1,200 euros at a bingo parlor.
- Ceuta, January 22. A Moroccan man was arrested for violently robbing a woman.
- Barcelona, January 13. A Polish man was arrested for pushing an Asian prostitute from a balcony. The woman was hospitalized with serious head injuries.
- Galapagar (Madrid), January 12. Three Moroccans were arrested for breaking into a home, threatening two children at knifepoint and forcing their mother to withdraw money from an ATM. They then stole a tablet, which had a GPS tracking system that enabled police to arrest them.
- San Javier, January 24. An 18-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for assaulting and robbing a woman at the entrance to her building.
- Granada, January 15. Five Moroccans were arrested for assaulting and robbing a couple of a cellphone and money.
Violence is also on the rise at migrant shelters:
- Madrid, April 17. An 18-year-old Moroccan stabbed a 17-year-old Moroccan at a shelter for unaccompanied minors in Hortaleza. Violence at the facility is reportedly spiraling. “There is an escalation of violence and there is no one to stop it,” said one worker. “Many come to Madrid thinking that it will be the solution to their lives and when they see that this is not the case they are disappointed,” said another. On March 26, more than 20 underage migrants attacked security guards at the same shelter.
- Palma de Mallorca, February 14. Two unaccompanied underage migrants were arrested for “sexual abuse, harassment, domestic violence and serious threats to the staff” at an asylum shelter.
- Melilla, January 2. A 21-year-old Algerian man was arrested for sexually assaulting a 21-year-old Moroccan man at a migrant shelter.
Migrants have been increasingly attacking law enforcement officers:
- Las Cabezas de San Juan (Seville), May 12. Two Moroccans shot at police officers who were attempting to serve them with a warrant.
- Palma de Mallorca, May 10. Four migrants hawking counterfeit goods physically assaulted police by throwing them to the ground and repeatedly kicking them in the head.
- Gijón, April 16. A 28-year-old Moroccan man stripped naked and then head-butted a police officer who ordered him to get dressed.
- Murcia, March 7. A 34-year-old Algerian man tried to run over a policeman who stopped his car during a routine traffic patrol.
- Barcelona, March 6. A 35-year-old Moroccan man shouting “Allahu Akhbar” was arrested after he tried to stab several police officers.
- Salamanca, March 1. A 24-year-old Moroccan man was arrested for assaulting three police officers.
- Bilbao, August 25. A 25-year-old Senegalese migrant, accused of stealing a mobile phone during an outdoor festival, kicked a police officer in the chest and broke another officer’s leg. Nine officers were needed to restrain the man, who called on other Senegalese migrants for backup. The Basque Union of Police and Emergency Workers (SVPE) denounced the “lack of equipment” that requires the Municipal Police of Bilbao to work in precarious conditions. “We have tasers, but they are stored in a closet because of political cowardice,” a police spokesperson said. City police also do not have access to helmets or riot shields.
Several migrant-related criminal cases are working their way through Spain’s judicial system, which in some instances has shown leniency:
- Sanlúcar la Mayor (Seville), April 24. A Romanian migrant who had head-butted a police officer and broken his nose, and then bitten another officer in the arm, was released without bail. The Romanian, who has a long criminal history, attacked the officers after they tried to break up a fight. Local prosecutors and a judge decided that the assaults were insufficient to justify provisional detention. Local media reported that the decision was met with anger by police, who said they could not understand how someone who acted with such violence can be free, and who said his release would reinforce the feeling of impunity among criminals.
- Murcia, April 22. A 32-year-old Moroccan man who admitted to raping a woman, was handed a five-year suspended sentence, on the condition that he not rape again within the next five years. The Provincial Court of Murcia justified the lenient sentence after establishing that the defendant acted the way he did because of his addiction to cannabis, which “diminished his intellective and volitional faculties.”
- Palma de Mallorca, April 11. Three Pakistanis were each sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for selling drugs in Magaluf, Majorca.
- Ciudad Real, April 9. A 47-year-old Romanian man was sentenced to 81 years in prison for raping his two daughters, aged 14 and 15, six times while their mother was away.
- Murcia, March 17. A Moroccan man was sentenced to nine months in prison for repeatedly exposing himself to an 11-year-old girl in Águilas. The man remains free pending an appeal.
- Alicante, March 6. A 32-year-old Brazilian man was handed a 16-month suspended sentence for ejaculating on an underage girl on a city bus. He was also prohibited from using public transportation for eight months.
- Valencia, February 20. Prosecutors called for a 41-year-old Brazilian man to be sentenced to eight years in prison for raping a 16-year-old in the showers of a gymnasium.
- Palencia, February 1. A 39-year-old Costa Rican man was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl who was babysitting his two children.
- Zaragoza, January 16. A Guinean migrant was spared a prison sentence after he admitted to sexually abusing two underage girls.
- Palma de Mallorca, January 8. A Senegalese migrant was sentenced to four years in prison for attempting to rape a 29-year-old British tourist in the bathroom of a bar in Magaluf, Majorca. He was also ordered to be deported after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
- Seville, January 8. Three Romanians were sentenced to 14 years in prison for gang-raping a 27-year-old Paraguayan woman in a field next to the Olympic Stadium.
In Jerez de la Frontera, meanwhile, a 70-year-old woman named Juana, who offered shelter in her home to an immigrant named Mohammed, has been left homeless. When the woman returned home after a hospital stay, she found that Mohammed, whom the woman originally met at a soup kitchen, had changed the locks and refused to allow her to return. Due to idiosyncrasies in Spanish real estate law, which often favors tenants at the expense of landlords, the woman will face an uphill battle to regain control of her apartment.
In Madrid, an elderly couple returning home from vacation discovered that their apartment had been “occupied” by African migrants. When a camera crew from the Madrid television channel Telecinco went to investigate, the migrants destroyed the camera. The couple is presently living with family members while Spain’s notoriously lethargic justice system now rules on who is the apartment’s rightful owner.
Also in Madrid, hundreds of undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa went on a rampage in Lavapiés, one of the most “multicultural” districts of the Spanish capital. The riots were the direct result of many years of extreme deference by Spanish officialdom toward illegal immigrants, and a sweeping failure to enforce the law — all, apparently, out of a fear of being accused of racism.
The riots were triggered by false rumors that the local police had killed a 35-year-old Senegalese street hawker named Mmame Mbaye. Spanish cities today are filled with illegal migrants from Africa who sell counterfeit merchandise on city streets. They are known as manteros (blanket men) for displaying their goods on blankets (mantas), and whenever the police approach, for scooping up the blankets and fleeing.
Mbaye died, according to initial reports, after allegedly being chased by police from Puerta del Sol, in the city center, to Lavapiés, where he collapsed. On April 22, 2019, however, a court in Madrid confirmed that Mbaye did not die as the result of a police chase. Instead, he had heart disease and died of cardiac arrest while walking with a friend in Lavapiés. “The events do not reveal even the slightest indication that the deceased was personally subjected to any type of harassment or previous police persecution that could have triggered the lethal effects of the cardiac pathology from which he suffered,” the court ruled. “There is no objective data or any witness to affirm the existence of such harassment or persecution, which has no support other than the mere assertions of the appellant [an NGO called SOS Racism Madrid].”
Mbaye’s death nevertheless sparked violent protests that lasted for several days and caused massive destruction of public and private property.
The Madrid city council, run by Mayor Manuela Carmena, in a case study of political correctness run amok, ordered police to keep out of the neighborhood of Lavapiés to “avoid situations of tension.” The result is that illegal immigrants, far from facing the threat of deportation, are now secure in the knowledge that their violent actions have empowered them effectively to take control of an entire neighborhood of a major European capital.
So what should your readers’ reaction be? Should we be angry, cynical, enraged, apathetic, apologetic?
The whole migrant crisis faces us with a moral dilemma. If you let them all in and let them all stay, you are morally superior and can tap yourself on the shoulder for being so empathic. If you don’t let them all in and try, more or less successfully, to deport them, your are considered as cruel and many church leaders will tell you you are unchristian.
We have to pray for our governments to make good decisions with regard to border control, integration and deportation.