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holy week tradition

08.04.09 - 17:49 -

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Free, thanks to El Rico
Manuel will be released from prison this Wednesday. / A. SALAS
The tradition of releasing a prisoner on the Wednesday of Holy Week is seen by many as a perfect example of what Easter represents - forgiveness and compassion. This year a 26-year-old prisoner from a village in the province of Malaga will be set free on Wednesday by the El Rico brotherhood.

Manuel F. G. was convicted of assault and imprisoned for seven and a half years in 2002. He says that even though he is not a fan of the Holy Week celebrations, nor is he a religious man, he will proudly follow the Jesús El Rico procession on Wednesday.

"I am so happy I can hardly believe it," says Manuel. "Being in prison is a very hard experience, and it gives you plenty of time to think about what's important and what isn't. Freedom is worth fighting for," he tells us.

On Thursday Manuel and a group of eight other inmates from Alhaurín de la Torre prison were issued a day release permit to watch the transporting of the images of the El Rico brotherhood.

Once released, Manuel says that he intends to lead a different life. "I want to spend as much time as possible with my family, because they and my friends have always supported me," he explains. "I also want to get a job and start over again, but I know that that is going to be difficult right now," he says.

The releasing of a prisoner convicted of a relatively minor offence on the Wednesday of Holy Week is a tradition which dates back to the eighteenth century.

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