Spanish office to help Franco-era victims

19th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

A privately run office in Madrid will provide legal advice and psychological help to victims of the Franco regime.

MADRID – A privately-run office opened in Madrid on Wednesday offering legal and psychological help to victims of Spain's 1936-39 civil war and the ensuing right-wing dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

"The goal is to help the victims and their families, for example by helping them with a search for a parent that went missing or with legal issues regarding their rights," the head of the office, Carlos Aguero, told AFP.

The office, set up with Spain's main group representing victims of the Franco regime, the Association for the Recuperation of Historical Memory, will be run by seven people, including two psychologists.

It can also provide advice to descendants of exiles of the regime, who as of 1 January can request Spanish citizenship, he added.

In 1977, two years after Franco's death, all political parties agreed to put the civil war and dictatorship behind them, and Madrid granted an amnesty for crimes committed under the general's iron-fisted rule.

But in recent years the "pacto de olvido" or "pact of forgetting" began to crumble, as associations emerged seeking to recover the remains of the missing and seek recognition of the damage done by the regime.

Their efforts got a boost in 2007 when Spain's socialist government passed the "Law of Historic Memory" which seeks to restore the honour of Franco's victims through measures, such as granting them special certificates and removing Francoist symbols from public places.

Judge Baltasar Garzon, who dropped a probe into human rights abuses under pressure from prosecutors, said about 114,000 people were killed after summary trials and in other kinds of reprisals during and after the civil war.

AFP / Expatica

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