THE Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry and Justice Department are currently in the process of working to have 341 Spaniards jailed abroad returned to the country.
Of these, 95 are “in the first phase of exchange of documentation,” the ministry reported, and the remaining 246 have already been accepted by Spain and just need authorisation from the government of the countries where they are serving their sentences.
In 2014, 162 transfers were carried out, mainly from Venezuela (26), Portugal (24) and Ecuador (22). “Portugal is one of the countries that works best for transfers,” said Maria Jose Moreno, a spokeswoman for the legal services of the Movement for Peace.
The number of Spaniards jailed abroad has fallen by 32 per cent over the last four years, after a record-high of 2,523 in 2011.
More than 80 per cent were jailed for drug-trafficking.
Slightly over half are in South American jails, and another 35 per cent in Europe. Associations and groups said the drop was down to the good job consular offices were doing to advise and assist Spanish prisoners to apply for transfer to jails in Spain.
Nieves Garcia Alcaraz, 56, was sentenced to life in prison by a Thai court in 2011, six months after being arrested at Bangkok airport after flying in from Ghana with 3.1 kilos of methamphetamine in her luggage.
“She has always maintained her innocence,” said Monica, her daughter, who lives in the Albacete town of Tobarra.
Besides Nieves, two other Spaniards are currently serving sentences in Thailand.