Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Kangaroo court in Spain

Archaeologists and villagers searching a cemetery in Gerena, Spain unearth the bones of a woman in a mass grave thought to contain the remains of 17 women summarily executed by General Francisco Franco's fascist forces in 1937. Discovery of the remains comes a day before the trial commences of Judge Baltasar Garzon. Garzon is charged with abuse of power for opening an investigation into the disappearance of 114,000 people during Spain's 1936-39 civil war and Franco's dictatorship. Garzon is also the Spanish judge made famous for going after and attempting to prosecute Osama bin Laden, Silvio Berlusconi, members of the former dictatorship in Argentina, abuse of suspects held at Guantanamo, and most notoriously, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In his investigation, Garzon was acting at the behest of victim’s relatives who wanted to find and exhume the bodies of their loved ones. In a mockery of justice, the plaintiffs against Garzon are three far-right political groups, including Falange Espanola, the old fascist party responsible for most of the atrocities. Instead of this kangaroo court, the Spanish authorities should be trying to learn the fate of thousands of victims disappeared, tortured and executed during the civil war and Franco’s rule, and bring those responsible to justice. (Photo by Cristina Quicler)

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