Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's family loses divisive fight to keep his remains in state mausoleum

Spanish dictator Francisco Franco
# 24 September 2019 13:55 (UTC +04:00)

Spain's Supreme Court has ruled that the remains of dictator Francisco Franco should be exhumed, APA reports citing BBC.

It backed the Socialist government's plan to move the remains from a state mausoleum to a less controversial site - a cemetery where his wife is buried.

An appeal by Franco's family against the exhumation was rejected.

The issue has divided opinion in Spain, which remains haunted by the Franco era. He won the 1930s civil war and went on to rule Spain until 1975.

He lies in a huge mausoleum near the capital Madrid, called the Valley of the Fallen, alongside tens of thousands of civil war dead.

Many revile the complex as a monument to the triumph of fascism, and it has become a shrine for the far right.

The government approved the exhumation in August. It plans to re-bury Franco next to his wife in the El Pardo cemetery north of Madrid where various other politicians are interred.

Many descendents of Franco's victims support the move.

"The idea that people who were killed by Franco's troops are buried together with Franco, it's very absurd, and they're still glorifying him as if he was the saviour of Spain," Silvia Navarro, whose great uncle died in 1936, told the BBC.

But the family, who would rather he was not moved at all, wanted him to lie in a family crypt in the Almudena Cathedral - right in the centre of the capital.

The government says the former dictator should not be placed anywhere where he could be glorified.

The controversy comes at a time of political crisis in Spain, as the country prepares for its fourth general election in four years, on 10 November.