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Home News Crowd protests Garzon conviction in Spain

Crowd protests Garzon conviction in Spain

Published on 09/02/2012

Hundreds of people protested Thursday in Madrid against the conviction of world-renowned Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon for the illegal use of wiretapping in a financial corruption case.

The crowd chanted “Shame!” and “Garzon, friend, the people are with you” at the rally in the Puerta del Sol square in the heart of the Spanish capital.

“If this country rewards corrupt people and punishes those who investigate corruption, then we are lost,” said Julian Rebolla, a spokesman for the Platform against Impunity of Francoism, one of the backers of the protest.

Many of Garzon’s supporters believe his conviction on Thursday for abuse of power, along with his suspension from the bench for 11 years, is retaliation for his attempt to probe Franco-era atrocities.

Garzon is awaiting judgment in a second, more prominent trial for trying to investigate the disappearance of some 114,000 people during Spain’s 1936-1939 Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

In this second trial which wrapped up on Wednesday, he is accused of abuse of power for opening the investigation in an alleged breach of an amnesty for the crimes of the dictatorhip.

The judge is also under investigation in a third case over alleged influence-peddling. He has not been charged in that case.

“The main goal of these three cases is to remove Garzon from the bench,” said Jaime Ruiz, the coordinator of the group Solidarity With Garzon which organised the demonstration attended by about 500-600 people.

Dozens of people at the protest held up black-and-white photos of relatives killed in the civil war or under Franco’s dictatorship.

“What they are doing to Garzon is shameful,” said 75-year-old Albino Calva who held up a sign with a large photo of his father who he said was shot dead by Franco’s forces in 1940.

“As a child I used to dream that my father had come back and was giving me a hug. What happened was a genocide. I don’t understand why the government does not recognize this,” added Calva as his eyes teared up.