First report filed for torture case in 1970 at Barcelona’s Via Laietana police station

  • Rights groups want site to become remembrance museum

VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
17.11.2022 - 17:47

Irídia, Òmnium Cultural and other rights organizations have filed a report for the torture of anti-Francoist and clandestine trade union member Carles Vallejo at the Spanish national police station on Barcelona’s Via Laietana, as they announced on Wednesday as part of their new ‘Via Laietana 43. Fem Justícia, fem Memòria’ campaign for “justice and memory.”

This is the first complaint that has been filed in Spain for Franco-era crimes since the new democratic memory law came into effect last month. While it does not repeal the pre-constitutional 1977 amnesty law known as the ‘Pact of Forgetting’, which prevents the prosecution of those responsible for crimes against humanity during civil war and dictatorship, it does declare that the Franco regime was illegal and nullifies the rulings of its courts.

Vallejo, who was arrested at age 20 in 1970, five years before dictator Francisco Franco died, was tortured for 20 days at the Via Laietana police station. He fled the country after a second arrest a year later, and only returned thanks to a partial amnesty in 1976.

Remembrance museum

The rights groups also want the police station to be turned into a place of remembrance and have called on people to gather in front of the building at midday on Sunday to make their demands heard.

These are not new demands: from 1941 until Spain’s transition to democracy in the late 1970s, the building housed the Political-Social Brigade — Franco’s secret police in charge of suppressing dissent — and anti-Francoists were routinely interrogated and tortured there; some left-leaning parties and rights groups have long called for the police station to be closed and for the site to become a museum.


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