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Parliamentary questions
18 April 2013
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 117
Willy Meyer (GUE/NGL)

 Subject:  Death of Samba Martine in an immigrant detention centre in Spain

On 19 December 2011, a Congolese citizen, Samba Martine, died at the Aluche immigrant detention centre in Madrid. According to the Spanish Ombudsman’s 2012 annual report, her death was due to a lack of communication between institutions which meant that she was not given the right treatment as someone with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The immigrant held at Aluche had been diagnosed as HIV-positive at the Melilla temporary detention centre for immigrants but was transferred to the Aluche immigrant detention centre in Madrid without the latter centre being given any information whatsoever about her health status. This meant that at Aluche she was diagnosed with different illnesses and the centre’s doctors treated her on the basis of the different diagnoses without realising that she was HIV-positive, which consequently led to her death.

Immigrant detention centres in Spain must treat those in the process of being deported in a way that respects their human rights and international humanitarian law. Under Directive 2008/115/EC, they must provide ‘emergency healthcare and essential treatment of illness’.

The case of Samba Martine shows that the lack of coordination between the Aluche immigrant detention centre and the Melilla temporary detention centre for immigrants led to a diagnostic error which meant that she was not given the essential treatment for her illness, which indirectly caused her death. In addition to this case, there is the case of Idrissa Diallo and many other immigrants who have lost their lives in immigrant detention centres in Spain, suggesting that human rights and the aforementioned directive are being systematically violated. In its answer to my Question E-000333/2012, the Commission confirmed that it did not have enough information on immigrant detention centres in Spain.

Has the Commission collected enough information to bring infringement proceedings against Spain for its clear breaches of the detention conditions set out in Directive 2008/115/EC? Is it carrying out a specific investigation into this issue in Spain? How many more deaths must there be before the Commission brings infringement proceedings against Spain?

Original language of question: ESOJ C 33 E, 05/02/2014
Last updated: 29 April 2013Legal notice