A MADRID court has ordered a centre for underage migrants to readmit a girl who was told to leave after staff claimed she had reached adulthood.
Authorities are due to clarify the age of the girl, who arrived to Spain from Morocco last July. She has reportedly been in Madrid since August.
Prosecutors are set to argue that the girl is legally an adult, meaning the Communidad de Madrid regional authority would not be able to offer her legal guardianship or protection. The girl had attempted to obtain protected status which would have left her in the care of the authority.
The girl, who claims to have turned 16 last June, told Spanish media she had arrived at La Linea de la Concepcion after fleeing poverty in La Patera.
“An educator gave me a subway pass with three trips and the address of a hostel,” she said.
The hostel was a centre for the homeless, she added.
The 16-year-old said she had documents including a birth certificate which proved she was under age.
She has also undergone medical tests as part of her efforts to get state protection which back up the documents, she added.
A spokesperson for the Communidad de Madrid said the authority could not look after the girl if courts ruled in favour of prosecutors and decided she was legally an adult.
Lourdes Reyzabal, director of the Raices Foundation which helps vulnerable children and young people, said the Morrocan girl had been left helpless after being ordered out of the hostel.
“The only thing that was given to her was a document saying she was discharged. It left her unable to defend her minority age before any ordinary court,” Reyzabal said.
The case continues.