Justice will ultimately not be served in the case of accused Franco-era torturer Antonio González Pacheco, alias Billy el Niño (“Billy the Kid”).
González Pacheco, accused of multiple counts of torture of political prisoners while serving as a young police agent with the feared Brigada Político-Social (“Socio-Political Brigade”) during the Franco dictatorship, earned the nickname “Billy the Kid” because he liked to twirl his revolver around on his trigger finger. He died of COVID-19 on the 7th of May at age 73.
His death came just six weeks after the COVID-19 death of one of his most outspoken torture victims, José María “Chato” Galante, a well-known Spanish human rights activist and former political prisoner of the Franco years. Galante was also 73 years old at the time of his death.Detained as a student activist and subjected to torture in 1969 and again in 1971 at the hands of “Billy”, Chato Galante was jailed for four years for having committed the “crime” of participating in student protests against the dictatorship.
In 2018, Galante filed a lawsuit against González Pacheco, alleging that the torture the former policeman carried out constituted a crime against humanity, the only crime not proscribed by the 1987 Amnesty Law passed by Spain’s political parties as the price for the country’s transition to democracy.
Galante’s testimony was included along with those of other victims of Franco-era torture and abuses in the 2018 award-winning documentary, El silencio de otros (‘The Silence of Others’), directed by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar and produced by Pedro Almodóvar.
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