AN OMBUDSMAN has criticised Archidona prison’s conditions.
The body has found 10 areas which must now be improved and has questioned whether the almost 500 Algerian immigrants being held there is appropriate.
Following inspections carried out last week, the Ombudsman, Francisco Fernandez, explained, “there are numerous deficiencies in the facilities,” including the need for “better architectural conditions.” Fernandez added he had “serious doubts” about the facility being used as a prison.
Shortly after the Ombudsman published his verdict, politicians from the Ministry of the Interior and the Senate visited the facility to check on the inmates. As they did so around 50 prison officials protested outside, saying the facilities should not be used as a prison.The politicians from five different parties later clashed over the conditions inside.
Last week it was revealed several visitors were turned away from the detention centre as they tried to deliver clothes to their relatives.
After waiting all morning to see their loved-ones, visitors were asked to return to Archidona prison in the afternoon. Every day large numbers of mother, children, fathers and siblings queue outside the prison to see their families who were detained after illegally entering Spain on the coasts of Almeria and Murcia.
A plainclothes police officer was stationed outside the centre to organise visitors, some of whom say they have been waiting days to see their relatives. Sources told one publication numbers had to be limited to control the situation which is said to have become heated. One father told a newspaper, “my son is on hunger strike because the other day they put out pork to eat.”
Relatives say they are concerned after hearing news reports of clashes inside the prison between inmates frustrated they will have to return home. A source told one publication there had been “some encounters,” which were “not serious.”
One councillor urged Spain’s central government to make other arrangements for the immigrants. Mercedes Montero is asking the government to open a new, permanent prison for those who illegally reach Spain’s shores by boat.
The councillor explained she had spoken to the Security of State for Security and, “he has assured me that they will be held for a maximum of 40 days and that another jail will be opened in January as promised.”
The immigrants, who arrived at the shores of Murcia before being transferred to Malaga, have received healthcare, personal hygiene kits and the services of an interpreter.