Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Spanish Judge on trial

A high-profile Spanish judge is set on trial accused of dishonoring a 1977 amnesty law by enquiring civil war and Franco-era crimes. The criminal prosecution of Baltasar Garzon, who prominently charged late Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet, has been taken by two right-wing groups.

They say he exceeded his powers by investigating the disappearance of 114,000 people between 1936 and 1975. Human rights radicals have named the Supreme Court trial as a malicious gossip.

Relatives of dupes from the civil war and the subsequent dictatorship of General Francisco Franco are expected to gather outside the Supreme Court in Madrid as the trial gets under way.

According to the news agencies in Spain, the case has deeper significances for the country - and the thought that crimes in the past should not be the subject of investigations today. This is one of three prosecutions, added by private parties, facing Mr Garzon.

Last week he was in court on charges of lawlessly clearing police to bug the conversations of lawyers with clients. He refused any illegal activities and said he had always sought to protect detainees' right to a just defense.

His third trial, for which no date has been set, involves allegations that he made bribes over payments he allegedly received for bank-sponsored seminars in New York. The 56 years old Judge, Mr. Garzon could be suspended for upto 20 years if he found guilty at any of the trials.


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