Spanish city takes steps to probe Franco crimes

AP News
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Posted: Nov 27, 2015 11:58 AM
Spanish city takes steps to probe Franco crimes

MADRID (AP) — Local politicians in Pamplona on Friday called for an investigation into crimes allegedly committed against residents by the dictatorship of the late Gen. Francisco Franco, turning the northern city into Spain's first known to seek such a probe.

The resolution they adopted urges the city government to file a criminal case in Pamplona's courts, which would then decide whether to begin an investigation.

Spain has never officially investigated alleged crimes committed under the rule of Franco, whose troops rose up against the republican Spanish government in 1936 to start the Spanish Civil War.

About 300 Pamplona residents were killed at the outbreak of the war, the resolution said, which ushered in some 40 years of dictatorship.

Civic groups say some 130,000 people killed in Spain under Franco are still unaccounted for.

A statement from groups that pushed for the resolution said Pamplona was the first city to do so and that efforts are under way promoting similar moves in additional Spanish cities and towns.

Calls for criminal investigations into the alleged atrocities by Franco's regime have faced opposition in Spain because possible probes are seen by some as opening old wounds and as contradicting an amnesty passed two years after Franco's death in 1975.

Pamplona is the capital of the Navarra region and is governed by a coalition of leftist and nationalist parties led by Bildu, which wants independence from Spain for Navarra and the neighboring Basque region.

Famed former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon launched a probe into the dictatorship's alleged crimes in 2008. It stopped when Garzon was barred from the bench in 2012 for overstepping his jurisdiction in a different case.