The priest provided notifications of false canonical weddings with which foreign marriages in an irregular situation obtained a residence permit when they were married to a Spanish citizen.
Fernando N. went this Wednesday to the Provincial Court of Murcia wrapped up by two religious and with a crossbody bag across his chest, from which two rosaries hung. In the corridors of the Palace of Justice, another twenty people, accused of participating with different levels of involvement in the processing of fifteen marriages of convenience, awaited the start of a trial that was not held in the end.
The parties reached an agreement pursuant to which the excurate of the Nuestra Señora del Carmen parish in the Murcian district of Santo Ángel will serve the sentence of 20 months in prison. Before the judge he accepted the sentence that he pronounced ‘in voce’, and that also condemns him to pay a fine of four euros a day for four months.
The prosecutor initially requested five years in prison for him for the crime of falsifying public documents. Specifically, the prosecutor accuses him of collaborating with a network of marriages of convenience between Spanish and Nigerian citizens, preparing notifications of canonical marriage by stamping his signature and the parish seal on the documentation, so that the interested parties could present them in the Civil Registry of Murcia. The foreigners thus obtained the family book and, later, applied for a residence permit when they were married to a Spanish citizen.
For their part, the other two main defendants, a citizen of Algeria and another from Sierra Leone, accused of acting as intermediaries, will serve one year in jail of the 30 months that the Prosecutor’s Office requested for them. In this way, the priest, indicates the prosecutor, made sixteen false links between 2001 and 2012.
The Public Ministry also demands the annulment of the unions that are in the process and the subsequent examination of the granting of residence in Spain for foreign spouses.
The prosecutor maintains that the defendant Fernando N. provided documentation for citizens of African origin, especially Nigerians, who were in an irregular situation in Spain, to legalize their situation through fraudulent marriages.
To do this, he collaborated with the other two defendants, a citizen of Algeria and another from Sierra Leone, who acted as intermediaries with the irregular immigrants, who paid between 300 and 7,000 euros for the documentation. The network put these men in contact with Spanish women, who lived in Murcia and Alicante, and provided the files to process marriages of convenience.