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CRIME

Mum kills two babies ‘possessed by spirits’

A 27-year-old woman in Zaragoza has been detained after allegedly killing two of her children, after becoming convinced they were possessed by an evil spirits.

Mum kills two babies 'possessed by spirits'
Photo of Zaragoza, Spain: Shutterstock

Ikram B, who has lived in Spain for six years and is originally from Morocco, has been accused of asphyxiating two of her babies and trying to kill a third after becoming convinced they were possessed by the Djinn spirit, an evil force that appears in the Koran and affects infants under three months old with demonic possession.  

She was also convinced that the family home was possessed, she told an interpreter when making her police statement, according to Spanish newspaper, El País.

A judge has ordered Ikram B to be remanded in custody at Zuera prison in Zaragoza on charges of parricide, or the killing of a close family member.

The mother has not been forthcoming with details since the death of her third and youngest child on November 21st, when, along with her mother-in-law, she arrived at the Fuentes Norte health centre in Zaragoza with the body of Sara, less than three months old, who had died of asphyxiation.

This was not the first time such an incident had occurred. In July 2011 another of the woman’s daughters, also three months old, died after suffering similar symptoms.

Police now believe that Ikram B also murdered this child although at the time it was ruled as sudden death. Doctors wanted to perform an autopsy, but the baby’s parents objected on religious grounds.

Suspicions were first raised in March 2013 when the mother arrived at a health centre with another of her children, this time a two-year-old, who showed the same symptoms: asphyxiation, poor colouring, and vomiting blood, which quickly alleviated when the child was given oxygen.

The girl spent a month in hospital and recovered, but paediatricians at the hospital had alerted the police of their suspicions after witnessing two similar cases.

The Aragon Violent Crimes Unit along with the Child Protection Unit immediately set to work, setting up 24 hour surveillance of the child and her parents while she was in hospital. Cameras were installed in the hospital room and a team of more than 15 police officers watched the family 24 hours a day for 30 days, to no avail.

When the child left hospital, authorities requested a psychological report be carried out on the mother and the child was taken into the care of Aragon Social Services.

One of the facts that drew the suspicions of doctors was the cold manner in which the mother reacted each time she brought a child to the hospital. She was indifferent to the fate of her children, reported El País.

Ikram B denies any wrongdoing and on Wednesday December 3rd pleaded not guilty before Judge Mercedes Terrer, who detained the woman on two counts of murder and one of attempted murder.  

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CRIME

Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record 

Spain's Justice Ministry has caused outrage after it sent out a tweet explaining how foreign nationals can cancel their criminal record online themselves in order to gain Spanish citizenship. 

Shock as Spain tells foreigners how to cancel their criminal record 

It may seem like a dark joke sent out by a disgruntled civil servant, but Spain’s Justice Ministry has indeed informed the country’s 6 million foreigners – including those who’ve committed crimes in the past – how to wipe their criminal history from the system.

“Criminal records can be a problem when it comes to obtaining Spanish nationality or applying for or renewing residence permits,” the ministry headed by Pilar Llop tweeted on Sunday. 

“Here we explain step by step how to request the cancellation of criminal records,” the Justice Ministry went on to say, followed by a link to a video describing the process. 

In the video posted on June 7th 2022, which has so far more than 24,000 views, a narrator goes on to explain that through the digital transformation process that the Justice Ministry is currently undergoing, it’s possible for anyone to personally and officially delete their own criminal record.

“That means that your sentence can be cancelled without you having to apply for it,” the video stressed.

This reportedly applies to both criminal records and sexual conviction records.

Logically, the tweet has caused a mix of incredulity and anger on the Spanish twittersphere, with comments such as “they’re mad”, “is it a joke?”, “God save us” or “instead of kicking foreign criminals out they’re helping them”.

The truth is that the possibility of expunging a criminal record in Spain has already existed for 27 years, as has the option of a foreigner with a criminal record being able to obtain Spanish nationality.

What has changed is the possibility of an automated system allowing citizens, Spanish nationals and foreigners alike, to carry out the expunging process online themselves, rather than having to apply for the Justice Ministry to do it for them. 

What’s also novel, many would say alarming, is that Spain’s Justice Ministry has made this public knowledge to many more people in Spain after their tweet went viral. 

Artículo 136 of Spain’s Penal Code allows people with a criminal record to cancel it once a certain period of time has elapsed and if they have not committed any other felony since the initial sentence. 

For those with minor sentences, the criminal record can be removed after six months whereas for serious crimes (5+ years in prison) the wait is ten years, higher if they’re charged with more than one crime. 

However, there doesn’t appear to be any lifetime prohibition from expunging criminal records for those who have committed the most heinous crimes, meaning that foreign rapists, murderers and paedophiles could technically cancel their criminal records if they met the aforementioned conditions and become Spanish nationals.

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