Captain Muñecas: Guardia Civil and Franco’s terrorism

  Spain, whose judges have aggressively pursued human rights abuse cases far beyond its borders, finds itself on the receiving end of such an inquest, as an Argentine judge seeks to extradite and try Spanish police officials accused of torturing opponents of the regime under Francisco Franco, the fascist dictator who died in 1975 before naming King Juan Carlos his sucesor. Buenos Aires Judge María Servini last year issued international arrest warrants against Muñecas and three other former officials who served under Franco – two of whom have died – as part of her inquiry into crimes committed during the Spanish dictatorship (1939-1975). State prosecutor Pedro Martinez said that if Argentina wants to prosecute the suspects it should do so in the Spanish courts, the same courts which never helped the victims during these last 30 years (that’s why Spanish citizens asked for help to other countries).

captain muñecas-spanish NAZI

  Muñecas and other thousands of Franco’s supporters are unlikely to be tried in Spain however because of a 1977 amnesty that was adopted to “unify the country” after Franco’s death in 1975.The charges lodged in Argentina allege that Muñecas and another policeman tortured prisoners in the late years of Franco’s rule. In Thursday’s hearing Munecas’s lawyer denied his client took part in torture and Munecas spoke up to tell the judge he did not know the alleged victim, the judicial source said.

  The demonstrators near the court were pessimistic:”We are sure he will not be extradited,” said one, Felisa Echegoyen, 66.She says she was a victim of the other Spanish ex-policeman targeted by the extradition warrant, Juan Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco.Gonzalez, alias “Billy the Kid”, 67, has been summoned for an extradition hearing on April 10.

  Even if Spain refuses to extradite the men, the request alone is “a very important moral sanction on the Franco regime, which also shows Franco’s victims that they can count on international support,” said Victoria Sanford, professor of anthropology at City University of New York.The Spanish government has refrained from commenting on the extradition request while it awaits a decision from Spain’s national court. As it happens, that decision is now in the hands of Judge Pablo Ruz, who took the place of Mr. Garzón three years ago after Mr. Garzón was suspended and eventually removed from the court for using illegal eavesdropping methods. Mr. Garzón had also tried to investigate crimes committed during the Spanish civil war and the ensuing Franco dictatorship, among other politically delicate cases.

Even a single Guardia Civil agent will help the victims

  Victims are still waiting for at least one of those hundreds of members of Guardia Civil who knew about the activities of Captain Muñecas and people like him, to help identify them in court, but still no answer from any agent.


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