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Spain blocks Argentinian judge's Franco probe

An Argentinian judge is trying seek belated justice for victims of the Franco dictatorship.

Baltasar garzon 2012 02 27Enlarge
Spaniards sign a giant banner displaying a picture of renowned judge Baltasar Garzon at the Puerta del Sol square in Madrid on February 9, 2012. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

A video testimony from several elderly Spanish victims of the Franco dictatorship was scheduled to air in an Argentinian court this week. But at the last minute, the Spanish government has blocked the video testimony, El Pais reported.

Argentine judge Maria Servin has been attempting to seek long-awaited justice for victims of the Franco dictatorship. In doing so, she is following in the footsteps of Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who earned international fame when his extradition attempt against General Pinochet saw the Chilean dictator arrested and detained for more than a year in London.

Like Garzon, the Argentine judge is also trying to use the principle of universal jurisdiction for prosecuting crimes against humanity. However, the Spanish government objects to what it sees as a violation of the transition process to democracy.

More from GlobalPost: Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon cleared in Franco-era crime probe

Eva Suarez-Llanos, a deputy director at Amnesty International, says that Spain's latest decision is "not justified" and accused the Spanish government of delaying justice. "Once again we urge the Spanish Government to investigate these crimes or cooperate with Argentina," she told El Pais.

Garzon also faced heavy push back from the Spanish government after he took on the Franco dictatorship. Last year, Madrid's Supreme Court banned Garzon from the legal profession for 11 years after he was  convicted of ordering illegal wiretaps.  Garzon's supporters have labeled the case and similar cases against Garzon as a "political witch-hunt."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/spain/130509/spain-blocks-argentine-judges-franco-probe