Spanish Judge Acquitted in Franco-Era Probe

Posted February 27th, 2012 at 8:15 am (UTC-5)
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Spain's Supreme Court has acquitted judge Baltasar Garzon of overstepping his authority when he ordered an investigation into the disappearance of more than 100,000 people by forces loyal to late dictator Francisco Franco.

Garzon had been charged with violating a 1977 amnesty on political crimes. He argued that the atrocities were crimes against humanity and not subject to the amnesty law.

Garzon is perhaps best known for using international human rights law to order the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. He also indicted terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2003.

Earlier this month, Garzon was disbarred for 11 years, after being found guilty of illegally recording conversations between defense attorneys and their clients. The high court said that such actions “these days are only found in totalitarian regimes.” He plans to appeal.