View Full Version : Judge Baltasar Garzón suspended over Franco investigation

Magda Hassan
05-15-2010, 02:41 AM
Judge Baltasar Garzón suspended over Franco investigation

Move against Spanish magistrate, who pursued Pinochet over human rights abuses, seen as politically motivated

Giles Tremlett (http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/gilestremlett) and Justin Webster in Madrid
guardian.co.uk (http://www.guardian.co.uk/), Friday 14 May 2010 16.23 BST

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2010/4/7/1270651825233/Baltasar-Garz-n-who-indic-001.jpg Baltasar Garzón, who also indicted Osama bin Laden, is accused of overstepping his authority by investigating Franco era atrocities. Photograph: Arturo Rodriguez/AP

The stellar career of the crusading Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón may have come to an abrupt end today after he was suspended from his post as an investigating magistrate at Madrid's national court.
The higher council of judicial power, which oversees Spain (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/spain)'s judges, temporarily suspended Garzón while the supreme court tries him on charges of distorting the law by opening an investigation into crimes against humanity carried out by the Franco regime.
"It will come into effect as soon as he is told," the council's spokeswoman, Gabriela Bravo, said this morning.
Judges and co-workers later lined up outside the national court to say goodbye to the man whose investigations into Latin American dictators, including Augusto Pinochet of Chile, had turned the court into a key player in global human rights.
Some shed tears as Garzón hugged and kissed them before being driven off from the courthouse in his armour-plated car for what may be the last time.
The decision to suspend him, although expected, nevertheless shocked leftwing Spaniards, who see it as the latest stage in a political and professional vendetta against the controversial magistrate. "This stinks of shameful revenge," the writer and journalist Juan Cruz wrote on his blog.
Garzón's supporters claim there is nothing coincidental about the fact that the trial comes at the same time as two other, separate cases in which he is also accused of knowingly twisting the law.
The private prosecutions against him have been brought by rightwing groups and one case refers directly to a corruption investigation into the main opposition party, the rightwing People's party.
Campaigners who have been seeking justice for those killed by Franco death squads before and after the Spanish civil war claimed that Garzón had become "the last victim of Francoism".
Today's decision was rushed through, apparently in an attempt by enemies within Spain's highly politicised judicial system to stop him taking up an offer to be adviser to the international criminal court in The Hague.
A demonstration was called for tonight in Madrid.
The decision was criticised by international human rights groups. "Judge Garzón's suspension will be mourned by human rights activists around the world," said Reed Brody, legal counsel for Human Rights Watch. "Garzón helped to deliver justice for atrocity victims abroad and now he's being punished for trying to do the same thing at home."

Peter Lemkin
05-15-2010, 05:14 AM
Sad, very sad. A towering Jurist of the World - silenced...for now.:(

Magda Hassan
05-15-2010, 05:33 AM
I wonder if there will be street protests? It seems that there was a secret agreement not to prosecute any of the Franquistas in the transition to Juan Carlos as head of state.