Spain: Court halts Franco-era exhumation
Spanish people are barred from learning the very brutality of the Francisco Franco dictatorship. Their High Criminal Court -belonging to the National Audience- halted the exhumations of over 20 clandestine grave yards -in Madrid, Caceres, Toledo, Burgos, Huelva, Cordoba and Malaga- where the remains of 4.500 missing people from the Civil War (1936-39) and its ensuing Franco dictatorship are thought to be buried. The Court decided to question the enquiry initiated by judge Baltasar Garzon. A local NGO -"Association for the Recovery of Spanish Historical Memory"- has expressed its willingness to challenge the court decision. The left wing party and the "Association of the Missing Spanish Citizens during the Civil War" will back their challenge. Conservative PP party backed the court decision to halt the exhumations. Spanish history is rather notorious with accounts of extrajudicial killings and the Inquisition. "About 500,000 people are believed to have been killed during Spain's Civil War between Franco's Nationalist forces and the democratically-elected left-wing Republican government."
A Spanish court has suspended the opening of mass graves in the inquiry into the fate of more than 100,000 who vanished under Gen Franco's rule.
The top criminal court ruled by 10 votes to five to stop exhumations from the 1936-39 Civil War. It imposed the halt to allow it to rule on whether Spain's best-known judge, Baltasar Garzon, had the competence to launch the inquiry. Campaigners condemned the court's ruling as "brutally inhumane". "There are many people who are very old who have been waiting for a long time," Emilio Silva, head of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, told AFP news agency. Judge Garzon announced last month that exhumations could start, including the gravesite of poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Judge Garzon named Gen Francisco Franco and more than 30 members of his regime as instigators of alleged crimes against humanity. But the top criminal court, the National Audience, ruled on Friday: "The activities related to the exhumation of bodies must be suspended while this court resolves questions raised by the public prosecutor regarding the competence of the judge to make this move." Its ruling follows an appeal from the public prosecutor who says Franco-era crimes cannot be examined because of an amnesty law passed in 1977. Judge Garzon has the support of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, which recently asked Spain to abolish the amnesty law because it contradicted international treaties.
National Audience judge Baltasar Garzon ordered in mid-October the opening of mass graves, including the gravesite of Spain's widely acclaimed 20th century poet Federico Garcia Lorca. This was part of an investigation into the disappearance of some 114,000 people during the Civil War and the early years of General Francisco Franco's right-wing dictatorship. However, the public prosecutor's office appealed his decision, arguing that it violated an amnesty law passed in 1977, two years after Franco's death. "The activities related to the exhumation of bodies must be suspended while this court resolves questions raised by the public prosecutor regarding the competence of the judge to make this move," the National Audience's ruling said. ...About 500,000 people are believed to have been killed during Spain's Civil War between Franco's Nationalist forces and the democratically-elected left-wing Republican government. AKM/DT Original source at PressTV
Related Story at NP: Franco inquiry polarises Spain...again,