In Spain, renewed efforts to appease victims of dictatorship

Published August 29, 2018, 12:30 AM

by Roel Tibay

By the Associated Press

Independent forensic experts in eastern Spain have unearthed four skulls among human remains attributed to 100 prisoners summarily executed more than eight decades ago while Gen. Francisco Franco was cementing his dictatorship.

A skull with other bones of a victim’s body is classified by anthropologists following an exhumation of a mass grave at the cemetery of Paterna, near Valencia, Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. Archaeologists unearth the remains of some of the 100 people believed to have been executed by the Franco regime near Valencia at the end of Spain’s Civil War eight decades ago. The process of exhuming some 130,000 victims from Civil War-era mass graves scattered across the country is gaining momentum under the new center-left government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti/ MANILA BULLETIN)
A skull with other bones of a victim’s body is classified by anthropologists following an exhumation of a mass grave at the cemetery of Paterna, near Valencia, Spain, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. Archaeologists unearth the remains of some of the 100 people believed to have been executed by the Franco regime near Valencia at the end of Spain’s Civil War eight decades ago. The process of exhuming some 130,000 victims from Civil War-era mass graves scattered across the country is gaining momentum under the new center-left government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Tuesday’s exhumation in Paterna, near the coastal city of Valencia, is the latest among many similar efforts led in the past decade by relatives of at least 114,000 or so victims of the Spanish Civil War, and the four decades of Francoism that endured subsequently. Their deaths were never officially investigated.

A recent government-led initiative to exhume Franco from a controversial shrine glorifying him by the end of the year has focused the country’s attention on how to open the anonymous mass graves in cemeteries and in unmarked ditches along rural roads across the country.

 
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