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Spain government presents bill to compensate Franco victims

[JURIST] The Spanish government on Friday unveiled the anticipated [JURIST report] "Law for the Recovery of the Historical Memory," legislation aimed at healing the wounds of Gen. Francisco Franco's authoritarian regime [BBC backgrounder; LOC backgrounder] that ruled Spain from 1939 to 1975 following a bitter three-year civil war. The bill appropriates $25 million to compensate victims of the Franco era for land seizure and personal harm, and the victims or the relatives of those killed, exiled, or imprisoned by Franco have a year to make claims. The bill also bans public recognition of the Franco era, calls on localities to assist relatives of victims to exhume corpses from mass graves to family plots, and orders Spanish archives to be consolidated and reorganized so that families can access information from the Franco era.

The controversial bill breaks the informal agreement among Spanish politicians to avoid speaking of Franco's regime, an attempt to move beyond the atrocities of the past. Many leftist politicians feel the bill does not go far enough, as it does not officially condemn the actions of the Franco regime. The bill may go to parliament before the end of the year, and is expected to enjoy majority support required for approval. AP has more. El Pais has local coverage, in Spanish.

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