A 46-year-old man has killed himself in Alicante, Spain, over the threat of being evicted from his house. It was the fourth case this week in Spain of a suicide committed over an eviction.
The tenant, a transporter by profession, hanged himself, local press reported. He allegedly had not paid rent for the last five years. Police arrived to evict the tenant and found his body, after calling several times and receiving no response.
A friend of the deceased told Spanish news agency Europa Press that "people who knew him expected him to do so," as the man “had warned many times” he would commit suicide if evicted. The man had two daughters and came from Barcelona, where his family currently lives.
It was the fourth such case of eviction-related suicide in Spain this week alone.
On Tuesday, a retired couple took their lives by taking an overdose of prescription drugs in their apartment on the island of Majorca, AP reported. The 68-year-old man and the 67-year-old woman left a note saying they were going to lose their home due to debt. The couple’s son found their bodies.
And at the beginning of the week, a 56-year-old man committed suicide in the town of Basauri Vizcaya because he couldn’t pay his mortgage.
The Spanish parliament has agreed to debate the country’s harsh eviction laws, though it has so far resisted adopting new legislation on the issue.
Currently, hundreds of thousands of Spanish citizens are behind on their mortgage payments due to the country’s ongoing economic crisis. A petition has been launched by Spanish activists calling for the protection of homeowners unable to pay through changes to the existing eviction legislation.
Protesters gathered outside parliament on Tuesday evening, shouting slogans such as “It’s not eviction, it’s murder.”
With recession gripping the EU, unemployment in member-states has soared. In December 2012, Eurostat reported that almost 2 million more people lost their jobs, compared with December 2011. The overall unemployment rate for EU member-states currently stands at 11.7 percent.
One major aspect of the eurozone crisis is massive youth joblessness, which stands at 24 percent in the EU. On February 15, the bloc’s Council for Education, Youth, Culture and Sport is set to discuss the issue in Brussels.