Spanish couple on trial accused of murdering their adopted daughter

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THE trial of a Spanish couple who are accused of drugging and suffocating their 12-year-old adopted Chinese daughter, began on September 29.

The parents, Rosario Porto, a 46-year-old lawyer, and her ex-husband, 51-year-old journalist Alfonso Basterra, were charged with murdering their adopted daughter Asunta Yong Fang Basterra which they both deny.

The couple is accused of murdering their daughter and discarding her body in the woodlands near the north western city of Santiago de Compostela.

The autopsy report confirmed that Asunta had been drugged with benzodiazepines over a long period of time and that she had absorbed a large quantity on the night she died. Her mother Porto Rosario claimed Asunta took very strong medications for asthma and other allergies, but her pediatrician said she didn’t suffer from any of these conditions.

On the morning of July 5, 2013, Asunta sent a WhatsApp message to a friend of hers, saying “I’m very nervous, they tried to kill me.” And that her parents keep giving her the “white powder.”        

Porto had reported to police that Asunta had gone missing after she was left alone at her apartment in Santiago.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said at the time that Beijing was “highly concerned about the case” and urged Spain “to launch an investigation at once.”

He then called on Spanish authorities to “bring the perpetrators to justice and take concrete measures to ensure the safety as well as the legitimate rights and interests of adopted Chinese children.”

The Judge investigating the murder also implied that the parents had drugged Asunta with the sedative Orfidal for three months before suffocating her on September 21, 2013.

He wrote in the summary that Basterra “administered to the child a toxic dose of Orfidal” at his home on that date, “to deprive her of all will and defence and presumably to ease the action of suffocating, in a plan agreed with Rosario.”

The accused couple will start being questioned in court on October 1.

Both parents, who are the only suspects in the case, insist they and each other, are innocent. The trial will start in early October of 2015 in the Provincial Court of A Coruña. If found guilty the couple face a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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