Miguel Montes Neiro, 61, has served several sentences starting in 1976 for a series of non-violent crimes, amounting to a total 32 years in prison. With his criminal record showing counts of disorderly conduct, escape from prison, forgery and attempted robbery, among other things, a popular movement grew around Neiro over the years to lobby for his freedom.
"Life has passed by me and I haven't started living yet," he told Think Spain upon his release Wednesday.
Neiro met his sisters and daughters, among several other relatives, at the gates of Albalote jail at 11:30 a.m. Met with applause, Neiro was visibly moved. "I feel free," he told reporters. "I'm not vermin."
Neiro said he would devote the rest of his days to his daughters, and will take fine arts classes to live off of his painting.