Catalan Parliament unanimously nullifies Francoist sentences

64,000 victims of fascist repression get justice more than 40 years since the end of the dictatorship, including executed president Lluís Companys

The president of the Commission of Dignity, Josep Cruanyes, and members of parliamentary groups (by ACN)
The president of the Commission of Dignity, Josep Cruanyes, and members of parliamentary groups (by ACN) / K.Schreiber, H.Kettner

K.Schreiber, H.Kettner | Barcelona

June 29, 2017 03:56 PM

A new law has been passed in the Catalan Parliament on Thursday that nullifies the politically motivated death penalties and prison sentences handed down by summary courts in Catalonia during the Franco regime. The passing of the Catalan law provides historical justice for around 64,000 Catalans, among them Catalan President Lluís Companys, executed by the regime in 1940, or anarchist Salvador Puig Antich, who only a year before the dictator’s death was killed by garrote, an execution method banned because of its brutality.

The highest profile victim of the summary judgements is Companys, the democratically elected president of Catalonia in 1934. The Spanish government has never offered an apology for his death and the law passed on Thursday only applies in Catalonia. Lluís Companys had fled to France after the Republican defeat in 1939 and was captured by the German Gestapo and handed over to the Francoist forces. In 1940, he was put on trial for treason in Barcelona and executed by a firing squad in Montjüic castle, a landmark of Francoist repression at the time. Since the restoration of democracy, the Catalan government and civil associations have repeatedly called on successive Spanish governments to revoke his sentence, but without success.

Josep Cruanyes, president of the Commission of Dignity, one of the organizations most involved in supporting the bill, highlighted its historic importance as “a reference point for laws and policies of historical reparation.” He also underlined that it was important that “the Catalan Parliament take a stance” on the issue of reparations to Francoist victims.