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Spain apologizes for jailing gay man in 1970s

Saturday, December 5, 2009
Francisco Franco

Francisco Franco

A man in eastern Spain has become the first to receive an official letter apologizing for his imprisonment for being homosexual in the 1970s, the BBC reports.

Antoni Ruiz spent three months in prison under a law introduced during General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.

In addition to the letter, he has received 4,000 euros ($5,900) in compensation.

Ruiz estimates around 5,000 homosexuals suffered a similar fate to him during Gen Franco’s dictatorship.

Spain’s Historical Memory law was passed in 2007,  and broke a three-decade long pact of silence about crimes committed by the state during the Spanish Civil War and the long dictatorship of Gen Franco, which included acts of oppression against gays.

The law banning homosexuality was overturned in 1979, and Ruiz says he is proud that Spain today is extremely tolerant.

Despite its mainly Catholic population, Spain was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriages, and give gay couples the right to adopt children.

Full story at BBC.

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