Scourge of Pinochet is cleared over Franco case
Tuesday 28 February 2012
Baltasar Garzón, Spain's superstar human rights judge known for
taking on high-profile international cases, was acquitted yesterday
on charges of overstepping his jurisdiction by launching an
investigation into right-wing atrocities during and after the
Spanish Civil War.
Mr Garzón misinterpreted Spanish law but did not do so knowingly, the Supreme Court justices said in their 6-1 vote and 63-page ruling.
The ruling comes a month after he was barred from the bench for 11 years after being found guilty of similar charges in a separate domestic corruption probe. Mr Garzón has said he may appeal that case.
A guilty verdict in the civil war case would have led to a similar sentence, although possibly longer.
The case has raised a storm in Spain, where human rights groups and supporters claim Mr Garzón – best known for indicting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998 – had been targeted by right-wing political and judicial enemies. Crowds gathered to express their support of the judge during the trial, and thousands rallied in Madrid in a protest following his disbarring.
Yesterday's ruling came less than a week after the judge was formally expelled as a magistrate from the National Court where he had worked for decades. Mr Garzón had a third case against him shelved earlier this month, though that decision is pending appeal. It involves money he was suspected of improperly soliciting from banks to finance seminars he oversaw in New York while on sabbatical in 2005 and 2006.
Mr Garzón has long been an activist judge, willing to aggressively interpret Spanish laws allowing for prosecution of crimes against humanity across borders. He tried to put Pinochet on trial in Madrid for such crimes, and indicted Osama bin Laden in 2003 over the 11 September 2001, terror attacks. The judge also carried out dozens of probes in Spain against corruption, drug traffickers and the armed Basque group ETA.
But while he was a hero for some, Mr Garzón made many enemies, especially among judicial colleagues who disliked his star status.
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Kate Upton nude photos leak: Model's spokespeople 'looking into' authenticity of indecent images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£30000 - £45000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Front-Of...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...
£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, J...
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer SQL, C#, Stored Procedures, MDX...