Alleged torturer in Franco's Spain set for hearing

A hearing to determine if an alleged torturer in Franco-era Spain can be extradited for his crimes is scheduled for April 10 in Madrid.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   April 7, 2014 at 3:29 PM

MADRID, April 7 (UPI) -- Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco, a former police inspector implicated in tortures during Francisco Franco’s rule in Spain, will be in Madrid’s National Court for a hearing that could lead to his prosecution.

Jose Maria Galante and other victims are attempting to prosecute, for the first time, a case that is raising painful memories and threatening the post-Franco transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Galante, a college student when he was arrested and tortured, found Pacheco living in a spacious apartment in Madrid only last year, he said.

“How did I feel when I saw him? We got you now, you bastard," Galante said. "I agree with the idea of reconciliation, but you can’t just turn the page. You have to read the page before you turn it.”

A sweeping amnesty absolved everyone involved after Franco’s 1975 death and encouraged a national amnesia on the topic. Spain’s transition to democracy has been a source of national pride, which saw political rivals make compromises to help the new democratic tradition succeed.

It also meant no justice was available for victims like Galante. He and others have taken their appeals for prosecution to Argentina, invoking legal principles of universal jurisdiction of certain crimes. An Argentine judge is seeking the extradition of Pacheco, and another person, on charges of torture.

The hearing in Madrid on April 10 is to decide whether to grant the request.

[New York Times]

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