13 Nov, 2014 @ 17:13
1 min read

Spain under pressure to arrest 20 alleged Franco-era war criminals

ARGENTINA is demanding that Spain arrests 20 alleged war criminals, including two former Cabinet ministers.

Wanted for Franco-era crimes, Argentina wants the individuals to be extradited to undergo trial.

The ex-officials, suspected of crimes committed between 1939 and 1977, include former Cabinet ministers Rodolfo Martin Villa (pictured) and Jose Utrera Molina.

Villa, 80, served as labour minister from 1975-1976 and had previously held senior posts during Franco’s regime.

He is allegedly responsible for the deaths of five workers in March 1976, who died as police tried to stop a protest in the northern city of Vitoria.

Molina – housing minister in 1973 and minister secretary general of the Franco-led National Movement party from 1974-1975 – is accused of signing the death warrant of known anarchist Salvador Puig Antich.

Antich was executed in 1974, the last use of the garrote as a method of capital punishment.

Molina is also the father-in-law of former justice minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon, who stepped down in September this year after a failed attempt to reform Spain’s abortion laws.

Current Justice Minister Rafael Catala has insisted, however, that Spain will refuse to extradite the ex-officials, as their alleged crimes predate Spain’s 1977 Amnesty Law.

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. The Amnesty Law was a well-meaning idea, but in retrospect, a huge mistake. It was almost as if Hitler had been defeated but the Gestapo and SS had been left in place. So much of what is wrong in Spain now, derives from that generous, forgiving law.

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