Basque political prisoner Xabier Rey Urmeneta has died in Puerto de Santa Maria Prison (Cadiz, Spain), more than 1,000 kilometres from his home in Iruñea.
The 38-year old Iruñean had been in prison since his arrest in 2008, and he had spent long periods in solitary confinement. Rey had been accused of being a member of ETA and sentenced to 26 years in prison; during the trial he claimed that the Spanish police had tortured him.
The Spanish State's Responsibility
Many media stated that Rey had committed suicide, but Etxerat, the Basque prisoners' relatives' association, holds the Spanish State's "destructive" prison policy entirely to blame: "His death could have been avoided".
According to the association, Basque prisoners are "systematically" given "first degree" treatment, and visits to them are made as difficult as possible. "Xabier Rey's relatives have had to travel 1,050 kilometres de visit him at Puerto de Santa Maria Prison for 10 years. It is cruel for them to have to make the same journey to bring his corpse home."
There have been many protests and demonstrations about Rey's death in Iruñea and throughout the Basque Country.
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