Catalan gov’t to identify Civil War victims using DNA

Disinterment of remains from Civil War common grave in Gurb, Osona province, near Vic in Catalonia. Photo: El Periódico
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• DNA samples to be taken from relatives of 4,700 victims of ‘Franquismo’
• Samples to be tested by forensic experts against remains found in mass graves

The regional government of Catalonia announced Wednesday that it has launched an unique DNA profiling project to help match the human remains found in mass graves throughout Catalonia dating to Spain’s 1936-39 civil war against genetic samples of relatives of some 4,700 individuals disappeared and believed to have been killed by forces loyal to Gen. Francisco Franco.

The victims, whose identities have been documented as part of the region’s census of disappeared carried out by researchers with government support over the last several years, are among some 114,000 individuals disappeared and believed murdered by anti-Republican forces during the Civil War and the Franco dictatorship that followed and lasted more than 35 years until 1975.

The DNA matching program announced Wednesday, which is so far the only one of its kind to date in Spain, will use genetic samples taken from relatives of the 4,700 victims documented in Catalonia’s census of the disappeared and attempt to match them with the help of technicians from the Barcelona-based Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences to the DNA of unidentified remains found in common graves throughout Catalonia.

► Read More in Spanish at La Vanguardia and El Periódico …

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