Torra demands ‘solemn apology’ from Spain for Franco-era killing of Catalan president
Ahead of Catalonia’s National Day, president Torra says king Felipe VI and Spanish president should apologise for dictatorship crimes
Catalan president Quim Torra has asked Spain for a "solemn act of apology" for the killing of thousands of Catalans during the Franco dictatorship, including the execution of the Catalan president during the Spanish Civil War, Lluís Companys.
On a televised speech ahead of Catalonia’s National Day, September 11, Torra accused Spanish authorities of failing to assume their "responsibility" in the 1940 killing of Companys, regarded as the only execution of a democratically elected president in Europe in the past century.
Torra demands that Spain’s head of state, king Felipe VI, as well as the head of government, the Socialist Pedro Sánchez, publicly apologize for the "persecution, detention and shooting of president Companys and thousands of Catalans who died in exile, in Nazi concentration camps, and in Catalan prisons."
In 1975, the death of Francisco Franco put an end to a dictatorship that started with a military coup in 1936, followed by the Spanish Civil War. Yet the subsequent transition to democracy didn’t do much to bring justice for Franco’s victims, and reparations remain a controversial subject 45 years after the dictator’s death.
Sánchez’s left-wing government has pledged a new bill on historic memory that would annul Francoist sentences, including the one ordering the execution of Companys, and could also ban the Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco, defending the late dictator’s legacy.
However, Torra believes that the Spanish government should go a step further in its reparations efforts, and stage an official act of apology to Catalonia.