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AZ Detention Center Death: Family Demands Independent Investigation

PHOTO: The father of Jose de Jesus Deniz Sahagun wants to see the security tapes showing his son's alleged suicide at the Eloy Detention Center, saying, "They say my son swallowed a sock and a toothbrush. How is that possible?" Photo courtesy of Puente Human Rights Movement.
PHOTO: The father of Jose de Jesus Deniz Sahagun wants to see the security tapes showing his son's alleged suicide at the Eloy Detention Center, saying, "They say my son swallowed a sock and a toothbrush. How is that possible?" Photo courtesy of Puente Human Rights Movement.
June 29, 2015

PHOENIX – The family of a man who died at the Eloy Detention Center last month is demanding an independent investigation, saying it has serious doubts about the story behind his death.

Jose de Jesus Deniz Sahagun, 31, died in custody May 20, just days after arriving at the facility. An autopsy declared the death a suicide by asphyxiation,

But Francisca Porchas, organizing director of the migrant justice group Puente Arizona, says Sahagun had no history of depression, and other detainees reported that he was assaulted before being taken to solitary confinement.

"We think Jose de Jesus Deniz Sahagun's death is about some level of neglect or perhaps abuse,” Porchas states. “CCA (Corrections Corporation of America), who runs the detention center, is saying that he committed suicide, and the family doesn't believe that."

Porchas says Sahagun's death was the fifth at Eloy this year, and nation wide there have already been nearly three-dozen deaths at detention centers.

Porchas says with those mounting deaths, Puente Arizona not only wants justice for Sahagun, but also wants to see the closure of all immigrant detention centers in the U.S.

"A deportation proceeding or an immigration proceeding that is civil has now been criminalized to a level where people are being given prison for months and years, and so we think that everybody needs to be released and they need to fight their case on the outside," she states.



John Michaelson, Public News Service - AZ