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Argentine rights workers to Spain: Lay off Garzon

Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – The president of the Argentine human rights group Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo said Friday that Spain’s prosecution of crusading judge Baltasar Garzon is an “assault on the entire human race.”

Hebe de Bonafini said she is filing a habeus corpus petition with Spain and the European human rights court demanding an end to the trials that have already effectively ended Garzon’s career.

Garzon is a hero in Latin America for filing charges against dictactors in Chile and Argentina long before those countries were able to handle their own human rights trials.

De Bonafini said it’s time for Argentines to speak out against what she called a threatened comeback of the same forces that supported right-wing leaders from the dictatorship era such as Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Alfredo Stroessner.

“You have to be very careful: These bugs are like cockroaches, and after the atomic bomb hits them, everybody thinks they’re dead, but no,” she said. “Germany still has its Nazis, Spain its Franquistas, Italy its Mussolinistas and in Paraguay you can see how the people of Stroessner still act. So you have to be very careful.”

Garzon was convicted Thursday in Spain of illegally approving wiretaps in a domestic corruption probe and barred from the bench for 11 years.

Next up are trials related to his human rights work. Garzon is accused of overstepping his authority by investigating alleged right-wing abuses committed during and after the Spanish Civil War that Franco’s forces won, despite an amnesty.

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