40 years after Franco’s death, activist wants dictator’s body removed from ‘Valley of the Fallen’

Photo: AFP/The Local

• Activist attorney, former judge Baltasar Garzón wants Franco disinterred

• Calls for end to silence over Franco-era disappearances, human rights abuses

Spain’s former high-profile judge and activist attorney Baltasar Garzón has launched a petition on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the death of dictator Francisco Franco, calling for the removal of Franco’s remains from their official resting place alongside thousands of victims of human rights abuses under his regime.

Garzon, who waged a years-long campaign to bring former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet to justice in Spain for his responsibility for rights abuses against Spanish citizens under his regime, criticized the Spanish government and political parties for continuing to examine Franco’s role in the disappearance and summary execution of thousands of Spaniards during the military regime imposed after Spain’s 1936-39 Civil War.

Franco died on Nov. 20th 1975 and in the interest of Spain’s fledgling democracy that came to power after his death, the country’s political parties agreed to a broad amnesty for abuses under the Franco regime and during the Civil War years.

Franco is buried outside Madrid at the “Valley to the Fallen” mausoleum, alongside more than 30,000 dead of the Spanish Republican forces that his armies defeated in the Civil War.

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