Victims of torture by Franco's officials launched a case against four of the dictator's officers and warrants of arrest have been issued. The Spanish High Court has agreed to summon the former Franco officers wanted in Argentina.
Digital Journal reported on September 23 that human rights lawyers were demanding the arrest and extradition of four former Franco officials, on charges of torture.
The victims and their families are claiming that the four former Civil Guard officials and police officers beat them after they were arrested in various incidents between 1968 and 1973.
While it was thought at the time that the government might stop the extradition, Spanish High Court Judge Pablo Ruz has decided to call in the former Spanish law enforcement officers.
He said on Wednesday that as soon as he receives a formal extradition request from Argentina, the four men will be extradited.
However, Huffington Post (in Spanish) reports that according to court sources, it has since been established that two of the men have, in fact, died.
Celso Galván, a former bodyguard to both King Juan Carlos and Franco, passed away in 2009. Former Police Commissioner José Ignacio Giralte González passed away in 2007.
However the other two officials, former Civil Guard officer Jesús Muñecas Aguilar, 74, and ex-inspector José Antonio González Pacheco, 67, known as “Billy the Kid,” will be summoned to appear before Ruz but they will not be arrested according to sources.
Terra in Argentina (Spanish language) reported that Spanish prosecutors had said on Tuesday that they saw no need to detain the men, arguing that the statute of limitations on these purported crimes had run out.
However, during a hearing, the two men will be asked whether they agree to the extradition request issued last week by Buenos Aires Judge María Servini de Cubría, the judge who is investigating crimes and abuses committed during the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975).
While Spanish prosecutors argued that the country’s 1977 Amnesty Law prevents charges from being filed, Judge Servini opened the inquiry based on the doctrine of universal justice. Human rights lawyers maintain that torture and human rights abuses cannot be shielded by any national law.
A preliminary request for extradition has been filed with Interpol but Argentina will still need to draft a formal petition to be presented to the Spanish High Court.