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Anti-Franco judge targeted by Spanish fascists

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.

The well-known Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, has been targeted by fascist sympathisers as a result of his attempts to reopen cases of human rights abuses committed during the Franco era. Various right-wingers have brought no fewer than three criminal prosecutions against him, alleging various kinds of misconduct, and decisions have now been made in all three cases.

The most serious charge was a charge of corruption, arising out of the fact that the Santander Bank financed a university course on which Garzon was hired to lecture. That case was thrown out and Garzon found to be innocent.

The second case involved the accusation that Garzon illegally ordered wiretaps on confidential discussions between accused persons and their legal representatives. This he was found guilty of and was disbarred for 11 years, effectively ending his professional career as a judge. His purpose had been to ensure that proceeds of crime were not spirited out of the country, but this did not apparently excuse his breach of lawyer-client confidentiality.

Finally, he was accused of improperly taking action against suspected perpetrators of human rights abuses during the Franco era. The impropriety of this arises from the fact that all those guilty of such abuses were given immunity against prosecution by law, a law by which Garzon is bound. Garzon’s argument is that such a law is illegal under international law and he was therefore not bound by it.

The Spanish court, however, decided that Garzon was bound by it, but that he had not committed any offence as he had acted in good faith.

It is probable that these various cases will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

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