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Argentina: judge orders arrest of Franco-era officials accused of torture

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Argentina: judge orders arrest of Franco-era officials accused of torture

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Relatives of victims of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s rule celebrated on the streets of Buenos Aires after an Argentine judge ordered the arrest of four men accused of torture.

Judge Maria Servini de Cubria issued the ruling in order to obtain a recorded statement from the accused: former bodyguard to Franco and brigade inspector Celso Galvan Abascal; former police commissioner Jose Ignacio Giralte Gonzalez; former captain of the Civil Guard Jesus Munecas Aguilar; and former police officer Juan Antonio Gonzalez Pancheco.

Lawyer Carlos Slepoy, who represented the families said it was a step towards ending impunity for members of Franco’s government, explaining: “Those accused in this case can now be detained anywhere in the world, which basically guarantees that if they leave Spain they will be detained by Interpol and extradition will follow.”

If the accused remain in Spain they may never be arrested. There, the country’s 1977 Amnesty Law, which shields any Franco-era crime from being brought to trial, remains in force.