Spain: Family takes dictator's exhumation to European court

Descendants of late dictator Gen. Francisco Franco have filed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the Spanish government's exhumation of the autocrat's remains from a grandiose mausoleum outside Madrid last year

MADRID -- Descendants of dictator Gen. Francisco Franco have filed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against the Spanish government’s exhumation and removal of Franco's remains from a grandiose mausoleum outside Madrid last year.

Lawyers representing Franco's grandchildren said in a statement Thursday that the family believes the government effectively “expropriated” the dictator's remains with the exhumation last October as they now need permission to visit his new burial place.

They said the decision was based on a law that contravenes the European Convention of Human Rights and represents an infringement of the family’s rights.

The government argued that a modern democratic state could not have a gargantuan shrine exalting a dictator.

The appeal presented Wednesday also challenges rulings by Spain’s Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court backing the government.