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Spanish judge drops Franco inquiry

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Spanish judge drops Franco inquiry

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Spain’s most high-profile judge has dropped an investigation into thousands of people who disappeared during the country’s civil war. Baltazar Garzon was forced to abandon the case when he realised he did not have the support of his own legal body, the High Court. He also infuriated the opposition conservatives when he launched the probe in October. Criticis said it violated a 1977 amnesty for crimes committed under General Franco’s rule.

There are believed to be hundreds of mass graves spread across the country, containing the bodies of more than 100,000 political opponents killed during and after Spain’s bloody conflict in the late 1930s.

Few have been identified with any certainty and the job ahead would have been huge. It will now be up to local courts to investigate some of the 19 graves identified by Judge Garzon.

Victims’ relatives groups, which have been campaigning for years for the remains of their loved ones to be identified, expressed disappointment at his decision.