Spain refuses to extradite 'torturer'

2014-04-30 22:24
Former member of the security forces of the Franco dictatorship Juan Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco, 67, nicknamed Billy the Kid leaving the courthouse in Madrid. (Gerard Julien, AFP)

Former member of the security forces of the Franco dictatorship Juan Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco, 67, nicknamed Billy the Kid leaving the courthouse in Madrid. (Gerard Julien, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Madrid - Spain's top criminal court refused Wednesday to extradite a 67-year-old former policeman known as "Billy the Kid" to be tried in Argentina for alleged torture during the Franco era.

The National Court said the suspect, Antonio Gonzalez Pacheco, could not be sent to Argentina for trial because the charges related to events in Spain that occured too long ago.

The ruling echoed a decision the court took five days earlier with a second Franco-era suspect, Jesus Munecas, 75.

It sparked indignation among some victims of the regime of General Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.

"I think it is terrible, we are paying for the impunity of yesterday with the impunity of today," said 65-year-old Acacio Puig, a Franco-era victim.

His suit could not be heard in the Spanish courts so he took his case to Argentina under the principle of universal jurisdiction for grave crimes that have not been pursued in the country of origin.

Hundreds of Spaniards have turned to the Argentine courts to seek justice for alleged crimes committed during Spain's 36-year dictatorship.

Gonzalez Pacheco was alleged to have been particularly sadistic during Franco's regime, reportedly telling his victims how much he was enjoying hurting them.

He earned his nickname "Billy the Kid" for his age and for allegedly spinning a gun around his finger like a cowboy during torture sessions.

Gonzalez Pacheco denied the charges during his extradition hearing earlier this month.

Munecas also denied taking part in torture and told the court he did not know his alleged victim.

In its ruling Wednesday, the court pointed out that in Spain the crime of torture -- which carries a prison term of six years -- has a statute of limitations of 10 years.

Spain adopted an amnesty in 1977 to unify the country after Franco's death.

Last October, the United Nations recommended scrapping the amnesty and urged Spain to draw up plans to search for those who disappeared during the dictatorship.

UN judicial rapporteur Pablo de Greiff in February again urged Spain to scrap the amnesty law, saying it "has been used to shelve practically all of the cases brought before the judges" by people trying to prosecute alleged Franco-era atrocities in Spanish courts.

Read more on:    argentina  |  spain

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.