Spain’s longest-serving non-terrorist inmate walked out of prison on Wednesday after spending most of the years since 1976 behind bars for a score of bloodless crimes.
Flanked by his sisters and daughters, 61-year-old Miguel Montes Neiro told reporters the pardon, which followed a decade-long crusade by his family, represents the “first opportunity” of his life.
“I feel free,” he said outside Albolote prison in the southern province of Granada.
Montes, the son of a policeman, amassed a lengthy criminal record that included offenses such as armed robbery and illegal gun possession, but he never injured anyone.
“My brother has always been punished with the maximum sentences and, if they crush you again and again, you are going to rebel against the courts,” the former inmate’s sister Carmen Montes told Efe.
Carmen and another sister, Encarnacion, brought Miguel’s case before Spain’s Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights and sought help from the Justice Ministry and even to the Spanish royal family.