Far-right party barred from trial of Spanish judge

23rd April 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish magistrate trying high-profile judge Baltasar Garzon over his probe into Franco-era abuses barred Friday a far-right party from the trial, dismissing its complaints.

The facist Falange party was one of three far-right groups that had levelled charges against Gazon that prompted Supreme Court judge Luciano Varela to put him on trial, a decision condemned by rights groups.

Varela's exlcusion of the Falange means the trial could only go ahead if the judge accepts the charges from the two other complainants, media said.

A member of the Falange Espanola de las Jons, confirmed to AFP it had been excluded from court.

A judicial source said Varela ruled that the party could not be among the plaintiffs because the charges it had presented against Garzon contained ideological and personal elements and the party had not removed these elements from its complaint before a deadline to do so.

Falange said on its website that it would appeal Varela's decision to expel it from the legal proceedings.

Falange Espanola de los Jons is one of several offshoots of the Falange, the party that provided the ideological basis for the rule of General Francisco Franco's dictatorship which lasted from the end of Spain's 1936-39 civil war and his death in 1975.

Varela has indicted Garzon for abuse of power for opening an investigation in 2008 into the disappearance of tens of thousands of people during the civil war and Franco's subsequent right-wing dictatorship, which last until his death in 1975.

The judge argued that Garzon had "consciously ignored" a 1977 amnesty law with the launch of the probe.

Garzon dropped his probe into Franco-era crimes within months of launching it after state prosecutors and conservative politicians questioned his jurisdiction.

Garzon made world headlines in October 1998 when he ordered the arrest of Chile's former strongman Augusto Pinochet in London, under the principle of "universal jurisdiction" which held that heinous crimes like torture or terrorism can be tried in Spain even if they had no link to the country.

Garzon also indicted Osama bin Laden in 2003 for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and looked into the deaths of Spaniards in Argentina during the military regime of 1976-83.

© 2010 AFP

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