Feb 20, 2012
On February 9th, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon was condemned and sentenced to an 11-year suspension from his job of investigating important crimes. He was charged with using illegal eavesdropping in a corruption case against leaders of the Popular Party, now in power.
At this very moment, another trial is taking place on the crimes of the Franco dictatorship in Spain – which Garzon began investigating in 2008. A Spanish law from 30 years ago imposed silence about Franco’s repression at the end of the Spanish civil war and during his 40-year dictatorship – in the name of “peace.” Two years ago, after the Franco investigation began, Garzon was dismissed from his position as investigating magistrate of the national court.
Judge Garzon isn’t some unknown small-town judge. He is a high official in the Spanish state, best known for his determination to extradite the Chilean dictator Pinochet and to prosecute the torturers of the Argentine dictatorship. It is his international prestige that makes all the reactionary political circles of Spain hate him. They feel directly threatened by the investigation of the terror during the Franco dictatorship. These reactionaries were emboldened to challenge him when the right wing won the recent elections. Of course, the right wants to challenge this judge. They are preparing to get rid of workers’ rights, the rights of women and all freedoms.
Many in Spain express solidarity with Garzon for carrying out investigations and digging up testimony that reveals the assassinations and tortures their families experienced.
The horror of the Franco years also explains what led to popular protests and demonstrations of sympathy for this judge.