The Minister of the Interior Zoido says that if the crimes committed by Billy el Niño where in a judicial sentence, no one would doubt in removing his honours.
Article traduït per Ruth (@SoCal_CAT)
The victims report that the Spanish state has done everything in its power to maintain the torturer’s impunity and that of other Francoist criminals.
It is no secret that Antonio González Pacheco, also known as Billy el Niño, was a compulsive torturer of Franco’s Social Politic Brigade. It is also no secret that the Spanish courts have refused to judge or extradite him to Argentina, so that he can be tried. What is a fact, is that the Spanish Congress, headed by PSOE and PP, has done nothing to avoid his impunity in the last 40 years of democracy.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, this Wednesday, the Minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, has once more broken Franco’s victims’ hearts with his fallacy as to what is the reason why the torturer continues to have his honours. The minister has said that they will not take away his medal given to him in June of 1977, which also means an additional 15% to his pension, because his tortures are not being recognized in any judicial sentence.
“If everything that you have just said regarding Billy el Niño’s tortures was recognized in a court of law, you can be sure that there would be no Deputy in this chamber that would think he didn’t deserve the honours, but he would have received all the weight of the law on him.” Said the minister to Pablo Iglesias.
Zoido’s arguments were felt in the guests’ section of the Congress, where the victims of Billy el Niño were sitting, and they were received as a personal insult to the victims, who have been trying for 10 years to place the torturer under a court of law.
All that they have found is the resistance of this government, and no help from the Judiciary or PSOE. Chato Galante, an ex-prisoner of the dictatorship, and a victim of tortures, found a few qualifying words for the minister’s behaviour: “it is absolutely indecent, overwhelming, ridicule, almost nasty. He has not been judged because this state’s powers, PP, PSOE, and the Judiciary didn’t want to” and he reminds us that the government of Mariano Rajoy has done everything possible to avoid the judgement of Billy el Niño and all other Francoist criminals.
Galante‘s speech doesn’t lack examples, and he remembers, amongst other things, that the Attorney General has torpedoed anytime it has had a chance what is known as the “Argentinean Complaint”, a judicial cause open in the South American country that investigates the dictatorship’s genocide crimes. “The Attorney General sent a letter to all the prosecutors in Spain asking them to ignore all the exhortations coming from Argentina requesting victims to give their testimony. He also told them to be cautious and reminded them of how judge Garzon’s career ended. He was shunned from the Judiciary after investigating, amongst other things, the dictatorship. It’s horrible”. Says Galante, who also remembers that the National Audience denied extraditing the torturer under the argument that the crimes had prescribed.
But the problem is not just with the National Audience or the Attorney General. In the last few months, the courts in Plaza Castilla, Madrid, have rejected a good deal of complaints from Billy el Niño’s victims. And they have done so with the same argumentation from the national audience.
“We cannot judge the torturer in Spain because he’s protected. If he falls, all the other Francoists will fall. And Spain has no other alternative. It has to judge them all”, complains Galante.
Along with Chato Galante, in the guest box of the Congress, there was Felisa Echegoyen, Kutxi, also a torture victim of Billy el Niño. “He’s a scoundrel. They’ll do anything’s possible not to judge him, and now they refuse to take away his privileges because he hasn’t been judged. How are we supposed to feel after this? Very angry. But don’t doubt that we will keep going, and we will not stop until he is brought to trial. If I don’t achieve it, my grandkids will.”
PSOE against Changing the Amnesty Law
Victims of the dictatorship and the torturer, like Julia Hidalgo, also can’t forgive PSOE, and they are singling them out as the crutch that allowed Francoism’s impunity. “PSOE has refused, twice, to modify the Amnesty Law, so that it is not applicable to the Franco criminals”. Says Julia Hidalgo, and she claims that the transition “was done as best as possible”, but she charges against those who didn’t do anything to bring in the deep democratic reforms that were needed in the country.
“The problem is not just Billy El Niño. There wasn’t a transition, not in the Judiciary, or in the police force. The Francoist repressive apparatus was never dismantled, and this explains the kind of country that we have today”, complains Julia Hidalgo from Sanlucar de Barrameda, Cadiz.
The U.N. asks Spain to Judge the Torturers
Manuela Bergerot, an expert in the politics of memory, said in a telephonic conversation to this newspaper, that the UN’s Council of Human Rights and the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights have asked Spain up to five times in the last years to put a stop to the Franco era.
“They have asked us to tend to the bodies that continue buried on road ditches, and to ask the state to be in charge of finding them and giving them a proper burial. They also want us to investigate the systematic tortures happening in police stations against members of the political opposition” says Bergerot, who complains that the government of Rajoy has ignored all of these recommendations.
“González Pacheco has not been judged because of Spain’s lack of political memory, and Billy el Niño is one of the best examples. He was honoured by the minister Martin Villa, and the two of them together represent to perfection the myth of the transition, in which one day people went to bed as Francoists, and woke up as Democrats the next day. There wasn’t a renovation of the judiciary or the police forces either, and that is why Spain didn’t get to enjoy a culture of Human Rights. What we have nowadays is a culture of impunity“. Says Bergerot.
European MP’s Want a Reaction from Brussels
The European group of Deputies in charge of Historical Memory has also reacted, and they have asked for a “strong reaction” from Brussels in response to the government’s refusal to remove the torturer Billy el Niño’s honours. The group has sent a message to the Vice President and responsible deputy of the rule of law of the European Commission to “listen to the victims of Billy el Niño”. “Up until now neither the government, nor the judicial authorities have wanted to tackle the problems of memory, truth, justice, and reparation”, they affirm.
Take the Medal from the Torturer
Journalist Cristina Fallarás, collaborator of Público, has started a campaign to collect signatures through change.org asking the government to take away the metal, and the extra pension from the torturer González Pacheco. The initiative has received more than 4,000 signatures in the first hour after it was posted online.
Font: Público @publico_es
Autor: Alejandro Torrús @ATorrus
Data de publicació: 30 maig 2018
Font de la imatge: EFE/BALLESTEROS