Spain’s Supreme Court halts the exhumation of former dictator Francisco Franco

JUDGES at Spain’s Supreme Court have temporarily suspended the planned exhumation of the country’s former dictator following a request from his surviving descendants.

Five judges with the Fourth Section of the Court unanimously agreed today (Tuesday) to suspend the exhumation of Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum near Madrid.

They ruled it would be ‘extraordinarily harmful’ to Franco’s family and the public interest to let the exhumation go ahead before legal issues surrounding the plan are settled.

The former dictator’s seven surviving grandchildren have been attempting to stop the exhumation since the government announced the plans shortly after taking office last June.

“No family should be forced to go through two exhumations and three burials of one of their loved ones until all jurisdictional ways in which they could enforce their legitimate rights have been exhausted,” Franco’s family said in their appeal documents.

Government officials said it would postpone carrying out the exhumation until the case is resolved within the next few months. It had originally been set to go ahead on Monday June 17.

Acting Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said: “Reaching the ultimate goal matters more than the road we have to travel.”

Franco’s descendants had previously challenged the government over its chosen location for the former dictator’s reburial.

The government planned to reinter Franco in Madrid’s El Prado cemetery where his wife Maria del Carmen Polo y Martinez-Valdes is buried.

The former dictator’s family wanted to rebury him in the capital’s Almundena Cathedral but the government feared doing so would draw fascist and far-right pilgrims.

Francisco Franco died in 1975 and was buried in the Valley of the Fallen which also houses the remains of soldiers who died in the Spanish Civil War. It was built using forced labour from Republican prisoners of war and political prisoners.

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Joe Gerrard

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