Spain withdraws ‘postmortem’ medals from ‘Franco’s executioner’

by Lorraine Williamson
Franco medals withdrawn from his police

MADRID – The Spanish government withdraws ‘post mortem’ the medals of ex-Franco police officerBilly the Kid’. He was known as the ‘executioner of Franco’ and died in 2020 from the consequences of the corona. 

The awards and honorary titles once awarded to the sadistic martyr fall under the law of democratic memory. The order of the Secretary of the Interior implies the initiation of procedures for review. And, conseqently, if appropriate, withdrawal of these awards and medals. 

This decision affects Franco’s ex-cop, Antonio González Pacheco, known as Billy el Niño. He has been accused of being responsible for countless tortures. The medals will be withdrawn ‘post mortem’ as he died of the coronavirus in 2020 at the age of 73. 

During the transition period alone when Spain moved from a dictatorship to a democracy, at least three police officers and four Guardia Civil agents with more than 20 medals and awards between them have been accused of torture. This while they inherited their position as policemen from Francoism and enjoy lifelong pensions thanks to special medals and decorations. However, now, for the first time, the Ministry of the Interior is beginning procedures to withdraw these awards. 

Entire Ministry of the Interior vetted by a committee 

Minister Marlaska has instructed the National Police and the Guardia Civil to review each of the cases of agents who participated in the Franco dictatorship. In addition, a Study and Analysis Commission will be established on the application and effects of the promulgation of the law on democratic memory in all areas of competence of the Ministry of the Interior. 

Associations that glorify Francoism can also be dissolved 

This committee will prepare a reform of the Law on Associations. This includes as grounds for dissolution “the public apology of Francoism with contempt and humiliation of the dignity of its victims or direct or indirect incitement to hatred or violence against them”. 

The government is also working on a reform of the Organic Law on Associations. This is to remove the condition of public benefit for associations and foundations advocating Francoism. 

Parliament approves withdrawal of awards 

The government had already announced its intention to withdraw Billy the Kid’s medals. In the meantime, parliament has already approved the withdrawal of the awards. PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos agreed to withdraw those medals and invalidate other Franco awards. 

Related: New Spanish law requires counting and identification of victims of Franco 

Billy the kid 

González Pacheco was a police officer in Madrid and was later admitted as a member of the political-social brigade of the police during Franco’s dictatorship. Between 1971 and 1975, he allegedly tortured and abused at least thirteen people. He was known as the ‘executioner of Franco’ and, according to experts, was a sadistic torturer who was also proud of his actions. He was nicknamed ‘Billy el Niño (or; Billy the Kid) after the western hero who always twisted his gun around his finger after firing a shot. 

Also read: Remains of Francoist general removed from Basililca

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