A U.K. prisons watchdog has launched an investigation into the Monday death of a Brazilian man who was reportedly a jailhouse friend of Julian Assange. The prisons and probation ombudsman confirmed to The Guardian an investigation has been launched into Manuel Santos’ death by suicide. According to Assange’s partner, Stella Moris, the two men were friends at the high-security jail in Belmarsh, and that Santos had lived in the United Kingdom for about 20 years but had recently been served his deportation notice by the Home Office back to Brazil.
“Julian wants to express his condolences to Manoel’s friends and family. He tells me Manoel was an excellent tenor. He helped Julian read letters in Portuguese. He was a friend,” Moris tweeted about the WikiLeaks founder. Moris added that Santos, who was gay and feared persecution, was found dead in his cell in Assange’s same prison wing. Santos was reportedly working on a bail application at the time of his death. “We are hearing the utterly devastating news that one of our clients has taken his own life whilst being held in a prison under immigration powers. He had lived in the U.K. for 20 years and was facing deportation. Another life lost at the hands of the U.K.’s cruel deportation regime,” Bail for Immigration Detainees, an immigration detention organization working with Santos, said in a statement.
If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741