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Franco family challenges dictator's exhumation in European court

Grandchildren appeal to Court of Human Rights, accusing Spanish government of "effectively expropriating" Franco's remains

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05 March 2020 06:02 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

When former dictator Francisco Franco's remains were moved in October from a mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen memorial site to a family tomb, many hoped it would bring to an end a long-running legal saga and closure to the controversial legacy of his regime.

However, lawyers representing Franco's grandchildren said in a statement on Thursday that they have challenged the exhumation and removal of the remains in the European Court of Human Rights, accusing the Spanish government of infringing the family’s rights.

In the statement, Franco's descendants accuse the Spanish government of "effectively expropriating" the dictator's remains, as well as contravening a number of principles of the European Convention of Human Rights.

According to the family, the Socialist government passed the Historical Memory Law in 2007 with the main aim of removing Franco's remains and without taking into consideration the wishes of the family about where they should be reburied.

Franco buried in Valley of the Fallen in 1975

Franco was buried in the Valley of the Fallen near Madrid in 1975. Some 34,000 people are buried in the memorial site meant to honor those who died on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, although the site is often associated with Franco's repressive regime.

Removing Franco's remains from the memorial site was a long-standing election pledge by the Socialist government, which argued that a modern democratic state could not have a grandiose shrine exalting a dictator.

However, the process of exhuming the dictator's remains was dogged by legal challenges from Franco's family, until both Spain’s Constitutional Court and its Supreme Court ruled in favor of the government, allowing it to go ahead on October 24 last year.

 

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  • The Valley of the Fallen mausoleum, where Spain's late dictator Francisco Franco was buried for more than 40 years (by REUTERS/Susana Vera)

  • The Valley of the Fallen mausoleum, where Spain's late dictator Francisco Franco was buried for more than 40 years (by REUTERS/Susana Vera)

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