The state will appeal against the revocation of Cuelgamuros’ license to exhume victims of Franco’s regime.

The state has appealed a ruling that a few weeks ago revoked the building permit needed to exhume victims of Francoism from the graves formerly known as the Valley of the Fallen. As has learned, the Public Prosecutor’s Office presented its accusations against the resolution and asked the Supreme Court of Justice to approve the license issued by the City Council of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The work, which is not yet paralyzed, started last June in Cuelgamuros.

The sentence was handed down by Madrid’s 10th Circuit Court, the same court that kept the license temporarily paralyzed for months until the Supreme Court of Justice unblocked the exhumations. The state attorney’s office’s appeal means that the lawsuit will now go to the same court’s desk, but this time for a decision on the merits of the case.

The court granted a petition from the Association for Reconciliation and Historical Truth, the same one that, for example, unsuccessfully condemned a government delegate in Madrid for moving a few meters away from a demonstration against the Historical Memory Law. The judge found that the municipal architect’s report suffered from a “lack of motivation” and was limited to accepting the qualification proposed by the national heritage: “copy and paste”, according to the ruling, which the lawyers are now appealing.

Preparations began several months ago, and shortly before summer, in July, the first victims were identified and their remains handed over to their descendants. The republicans Valerico Canales, Emilio Caro, Floya Labajos and Roman González who were shot in 1936 were the first: “My desire was to hug my father’s bones,” explained one of the relatives.

The sentence, at the moment, has not been carried out and has had no practical effect on the work of forensic experts who have been searching for months for the remains of the victims of the dictatorship in the crypts of Cuelgamuros. In addition, the decision made by the High Court of Madrid can be appealed to the Supreme Court and its Chamber of Disputes.

Waiting for victims for years

Formerly known as the Valley of the Dead, the exhumations had to fight from the start against the resources of Francoist associations or the dictator’s family directly, and they had to wait months or years before they were carried out. For example, Franco’s body was temporarily paralyzed by the Supreme Court for several months until it was executed in October 2019 and his remains left Cuelgamuros in a military helicopter bound for Mingorubio.

In the case of the descendants of Francoism victims who were executed and buried in the valley, the wait has been much longer and may suffer new paralysis if the courts uphold this latest ruling now under appeal. Already in 2016, the decision recognized the right of the Lapena brothers to restore their loved ones, although they are still waiting.

They did not have to wait that long to exhume and transfer the remains of prominent figures from the side of the dictatorship and the coup, such as General Gonzalo Caipo de Liano or Falangist José Antonio Primo de Rivera. The first was exhumed in November 2022 from the Macarena Basilica, while Paqui Maceda, president of the Nuestra Memoria Association, shouted: “Honor and glory to the victims of Francoism!”

Another, the founder of the Falange, was exhumed from the Cuelgamuros Valley last April, welcomed by dozens of fascists at Madrid’s San Isidro Cemetery. Victims of the Franco regime even went to the Ombudsman to condemn the two speed in exhuming Cuelgamuros remains.

Source: El Diario





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