Jon Coates, The
Express, Sunday January 30,2011
HUNDREDS of parents in
Spain who believe their babies were stolen and sold to wealthy couples
in a scandal dating back to the Franco regime have demanded an official
They fear thousands of
infants were taken from maternity wards in a lucrative adoption racket
that started during the dictatorship and lasted until the Eighties.
The parents were told
that their babies had died shortly after birth. Instead they were
smuggled out of the hospitals by doctors, administrators and even nuns
before being sold off to childless couples for large sums of money.
Many of the victims say
they never saw the bodies of their infants and the hospitals took care
of the burial arrangements.
The families of 261
babies who vanished staged a demonstration outside the office of
Spain’s attorney general in Madrid and demanded a criminal
They blocked the street
and wept openly as they pleaded for an inquiry into the fate of their
lost children. The families submitted a petition to the attorney general
together with evidence of illegal adoptions collected from former
employees at maternity clinics and parents.
A campaign group claims
the racket started during the regime of General Francisco Franco in the
1940s, when children were taken away from his political opponents.
Doctors, nurses, nuns
and priests are all suspected of having lied to parents. Spanish
journalists investigating the racket have discovered a baby’s corpse
in a fridge at a Madrid clinic at the centre of the allegations. It is
feared dead babies were kept to show parents to prove their own child
Enrique Vila, a lawyer
representing campaign group the National Association of Irregular
Adoptions, said it had uncovered cases of illegal adoptions in Spain
which have been confirmed by DNA tests.
He said: “We think it
was an organised mafia.”
Since the scandal came
to light, workers at an undertaker’s office in Malaga have admitted
burying empty children’s coffins delivered from a nearby clinic.
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