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Spanish prosecutors try to block extradition to Argentina of alleged Franco police torturers

Prosecutors in Spain go to court to stop an Argentinian judge's bid to extradite two Francoist ex-police officers for trial on torture charges

Spanish prosecutors tried yesterday to block the extradition of two former police officers accused of torturing people during the country’s fascist dictatorship.

An Argentinian judge wants to put Spaniard Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco on trial under the principle of universal jurisdiction, allowing rights abuses to be investigated outside the country in which they occurred.

Mr Gonzalez, nicknamed Billy the Kid for allegedly impersonating a cowboy while he tortured opponents of the Franco regime, and fellow former police officer Jesus Munecas Aguilar denied the charges and refused to be sent to Argentina.

Spanish prosecutor Pedro Martinez said if Argentina wanted to try the men it should go through the Spanish courts.

But a 1977 amnesty law — adopted two years after Franco’s death — means that the ex-officers are unlikely to be tried in Spain.

A ruling is expected within weeks.

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