20 April 2005
MADRID-Spain's socialists have outraged the country's Right by starting a controversial process that could pardon tens of thousands condemned to death by military courts under Franco.
The government move to begin reversing sentences against Franco's opponents has angered sections of the military and conservatives, the British Daily Telegraph reports.
They are afraid it could reopen wounds of the Spanish Civil War and destroy what is known as the "pact of silence" about the nation's past.
A committee of ministers will be set up to consider the fate of "those who found themselves submitted to criminal cases that clearly did not meet the minimum rules for a fair trial'', a senior government figure said.
The generalisimo, who seized power after staging the coup that sparked the 1936-39 Civil War, favoured a barbaric but very Spanish method of execution: strangulation by garrotte.
One of the state's priorities is to secure the pardon of Salvador Puig Antich, the last man sentenced to death by Franco in 1974.
Puig Antich, a 25-year-old anarchist found guilty of murdering a policeman, was one of those sentenced to death by garrotting.
The Right is angered by the fact that victims of the "people's courts" run by Republican militias, which condemned thousands to death with equally spurious legitimacy, will not be subject to the same review.
Franco's vigorous pursuit of his theory of "cleansing" territory captured from Republican forces caused consternation even among his fascist German and Italian allies.
He signed all death sentences in person, often consigning dozens to death without studying the relevant documents.
Knowing the shock value of publicising executions, he would often add the formula "garrotte and press" to the sentences.
The opposition conservative People's Party is also angered by the government's decision to remove the symbols of the Francoist dictatorship.
The only remaining statue of Franco in Madrid was removed last month.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news
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