France’s Chief Rabbi Denounces Executions of Spanish Activists

The Chief Rabbi of France, Jacob Kaplan, today denounced the executions in Spain as contrary to the moral conscience of humanity. In a public communique, Rabbi Kaplan said he is raising his voice to “condemn the executions and to protest the fact that none of the clemency appeals addressed to Spanish President Francisco Franco were heeded.”

The Representative Council of French Jewish Organizations (CRIF) was one of the numerous world-wide bodies which asked Franco not to execute the five Spanish activists who were shot Saturday after having been convicted of killing policemen. Two were members of the Basque Nation and Freedom organization. Originally 11 death sentences had been handed down by the Franco government but six received clemency after an outpouring of worldwide anger.

A number of Jewish personalities in France have also individually branded the executions. Paris University law professor Robert Badinter said “It is a world scandal which must be opposed.” Jewish Member of Parliament Claude Gerard Marcus stressed that no legal forms were respected during the trial of the activists.

Last Thursday, two days before the execution, the coordinating committee of Belgian Jewish Organizations sent a letter to the Spanish Ambassador to Brussels, Marquis de Nerva Javier Elorza, expressing its indignation at the 11 death sentences. The letter protested the failure of Spanish authorities to respect the fundamental rules of judiciary process and asked that the Spanish government accord mercy to the 11, in the name of human rights.

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