Mexican woman says she was stolen as a baby in Spain
A Mexican woman claims she was stolen as a baby in Spain, and may be among 30,000 babies who were taken between 1938 and 1975.
Amnesty International and Ligia Ceballos Franco have filed a complaint with Mexican prosecutors, claiming she was stolen as a baby in Spain during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and handed over to a well-heeled Mexican family.
Ligia Ceballos Franco, 48, said on Thursday she may be among an estimated 30,000 babies who were taken from their real parents under the Franco dictatorship from 1938 to 1975. She claims the Catholic Archdiocese of Merida facilitated the adoption.
After being told she was adopted, Ligia Ceballos Franco found a local government document in Madrid saying a baby had been handed over to her Mexican parents in 1968.
She found a birth record for Maria Diana Ortiz Ramirez, which may be her. Her biological parents were apparently told she had died at birth. The targets of such deception were often opponents of the Franco regime.
"In our opinion, this case shows all the characteristics of forced disappearance, an international crime. In Ligia's case, there are also other elements which the United Nations has identified as relating to the forced disappearance of minors, such as the child's registration under a false name, false documents from her birth," Esteban Beltran, director at Amnesty International Spain, said in a statement.
Franco wants Mexican prosecutors to conduct a full investigation, based on a provision in the law against forced disappearances that covers hiding or denying someone's identity.
Amnesty has also called on the Spanish government to collaborate fully with all requests made by such investigation.
Lawyers argue the statute of limitations does not apply until the disappearance - or identity theft - are cleared up.
- AP, Fairfax Media