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Spain to offer reparations to victims of ex-dictator Franco's regime

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Euronews correspondent Jaime Velazquez reports from Madrid
Euronews correspondent Jaime Velazquez reports from Madrid   -   Copyright  euronews
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The victims of Francisco Franco’s regime are to be offered reparations as part of a new law that would restrict public support for the former Spanish dictator.

Proposals tabled by Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez’s government this week would also transform the Valley of the Fallen, a controversial mausoleum dedicated to the victims of Spain’s civil war, into a “civilian cemetery”.

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed during the conflict between 1936 and 1939, in which Franco’s Nationalists fought against left-leaning Republicans and Communists supported by the Soviet Union.

Spanish deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo said it would be “recognition, reparation, dignity and justice for the victims, for our compatriots who, in difficult moments, fought against fascism”.

Nearly 34,000 people are buried at the Valley of the Fallen, including many who fought for the Republicans whose bodies were moved there without their families’ permission.

Franco himself was buried there until his body was exhumed last year and moved to a family tomb outside Madrid.

The new law would establish a national DNA bank and allow for the exhumation and reburial of the victims.

Spain embraced democracy in the years that followed Franco’s death in 1975 but many say the country never confronted the atrocities that were committed during the years of his regime.

More than 110,000 victims from the civil war and the regime remain unidentified.

Calvo said many victims “lost their lives in different ways: in exile, in prisons, under the repression of the dictatorship in an ignominious way and that democracy cannot forget.”

But the bill will take many months to go through parliament and can still amended.

It includes a plan to ban the Francisco Franco Foundation, which was founded the year after the dictator died.

Its president Juan Chicharro said the government was trying “divert attention from real problems”.

“It’s no longer an issue about whether our foundation gets banned or not, it’s about defending freedom,” he told AP.

“Doesn’t the Spanish Constitution allow us to think freely?”