A former Spanish Civil Guard officer, Jesus Munecas Aguilar, has appeared in court for an extradition hearing.
The Spanish High Court extradition hearing took place yesterday (Thursday) in Madrid.
He stands accused of committing acts of torture during the fascist dictatorship of General Franco. A judge in Argentina has asked for him to be extradited so that he can be tried for the alleged torture crimes.
The judge in Argentina has issued an international arrest warrant for Jesus Munecas Aguilar, 75, under the universal jurisdiction principle, which allows courts to judge certain cases of human rights abuses committed in other countries.
During the hearing dozens of demonstrators gathered near the National Court in Madrid which must rule on the extradition request.
The former Civil Guard captain told Judge Alfonso Guevara that he opposed the extradition request. He argued that he had “no links to Argentina” and denies the accusations.
The charges lodged in Argentina allege that the officer, along with another policeman, tortured prisoners in the latter years of Franco’s dictatorship.
State prosecutor in Spain have also challenged the extradition bid, with one, Pedro Martinez, arguing that if Argentina wants to prosecute the suspects it should do so through the Spanish courts.
However, it is highly unlikely that Jesus Munecas Aguilar will be tried in Spain, due to a 1977 amnesty that was adopted to unify the country after Franco’s death in 1975.