Excavation team begins Spain’s first court-ordered exhumation of Franco-era mass grave in Guadalajara

Ascensión Mendieta, during exhumation of mass grave holding her father's remains. Photo: Bernardo Pérez / El País
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• Timoteo Mendieta believed buried at a 1939 mass gravesite in Guadalajara •

It took an Argentine court order and the cooperation of a Spanish judge, but 76 years after the extrajudicial murder and dumping of the body of Timoteo Mendieta in a mass grave by pro-Franco forces, his 90-year-old daughter Ascensión, aged just 13 at the time of his death, may finally have her wish to have her father’s remains buried with her when she dies.

On Tuesday, a team of volunteers began the expected two-week excavation of Mendieta’s grave site at a cemetery outside the Spanish city of Guadalajara in what is an historic first exhumation of a Franco-era victim under an official court order to take place since the death of the Spanish dictator in 1975.

Mendieta’s exhumation is seen as a validation and an important step forward by those who support the longtime efforts of the volunteer Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, or ARMH) to search for and uncover the graves of an estimated 100,000 victims of Francoist military and death squads, despite foot-dragging and refusal by the conservative Partido Popular (PP) government in recent years to fund the exhumation work.

► Read the Full Story in English at The Telegraph and at El País …

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