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Franco’s dictatorship declared illegal in Spain

The Democratic Memory Act, which had its final vote in the lower house of Parliament, the Senate, was passed as final with 128 “yes”, 113 “no” and 18 “abstentions” votes.

The steps of erasing the traces of the civil war and the dictator Franco periods (1936-1975), which started with the “Historical Memory Law” enacted in Spain in 2007, and supporting the victims and confronting the past, were further expanded with the newly enacted law.

With the “Democratic Memory Law”, which will be a new roadmap, the dictatorship period and the punishments given by the courts of that period were declared illegal and the titles of nobility given by Franco were taken back.

According to the law, the bodies of approximately 33,000 people who were buried in the Valle de los Caidos mausoleum, 50 kilometers north of Madrid, which was used as the burial place of dictator Franco for 44 years (1975-2019) and who lost their lives during the civil war and dictatorship, were exhumed and identified. It was also accepted as the responsibility of the state to be handed over to their families afterwards.

Likewise, the search for approximately 114 thousand people killed (defined as missing) during the civil war and dictatorship will be the responsibility of the state for the first time.

In addition, this law paved the way for the investigation of possible human rights violations in connection with the Franco period in the 1978-1983 period.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in a statement on his social media account regarding the enactment of the law, said, “Socialists have always been committed to strengthening our democracy. Today we are taking a new step towards justice, reparation and dignity for all victims.” used his statements.

Senator Eva Granados from the ruling Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) also noted:

  • Today, we pay a historic debt to those who defended democracy when it was overthrown and suffered decades of imprisonment, exile and persecution, many of whom were killed within the walls of a cemetery or in a ditch where their remains are still found. We owe a debt to their relatives and to the entire Spanish community.

On the other hand, opposition right-wing parties criticized the government’s support of EH Bildu, which operates in the Basque region and has a pro-ETA policy, to pass the law, arguing that the new law “increases the inequality between Franco-era victims and ETA victims.”

The law, which gives a period of 1 year to add some additional articles, will enter into force after this process is completed and published in the Official Gazette.

In 2007, the leftist government of Spain had taken the first political step under the name “The Law of Historical Memory”, which aimed to erase the traces of the civil war and the dictator Franco periods and to support the victims. With this law, all figures praising the dictator Franco era were removed and the names given to the streets of that period were changed.

Thanks to the law, the bone remains of the dictator Franco were also removed from the mausoleum “Valle de los Caidos” on October 24, 2019 and moved to the family cemetery near Madrid.

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