December 10, 2023

A 60-year-old former Spanish convict who claims to be suffering from cancer and depression has demanded to be let back into prison “to have some company”.

Justo Márquez has spent the past week protesting every morning outside the jail in Alhaurín de la Torre, in Andalusia, wearing a home-made sandwich board bearing the wording: “I want to go to jail”.

“I’m fed up and I feel suicidal. I don’t want to have to commit a crime in order to go inside,” Mr Márquez said in a video on his TikTok account, a platform he claimed keeps him going from one day to the next.

According to Mr Márquez, it is not the cancer that he cannot bear, but the loneliness after recently separating from his wife and becoming estranged from their five children.

“In prison at least I´ll have someone to talk to and I won’t be alone during the night or daytime,” he said.

Previous conviction

Mr Márquez said he had managed to have a conversation with the prison director, but that their talk did not produce the desired result.

“The director told me quite clearly that I cannot go to prison because the only way to do so is with a court order,” he said.

Mr Márquez said he had been sent to prison as a young man, aged just 17, in connection with a drug addiction he had at the time.

A former professional cook originally from Nerja on the Malaga coast, Mr Márquez has become a regular TikToker, where his close to 6,000 followers can keep up with his personal challenge to eat garlic soup every day of the year until July 11, 2024.

“If I go to prison, clearly I´ll have to give up on that – unless they let me carry on with the challenge,” Mr Márquez told the online news site El Español.

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