As lawyers and politicians give headlines to the controversial debate over the constitutional fit of amnesty after Junts de Carles Puigdemont demanded it as a condition for the installation of Pedro Sánchez, a lawyer and soldier, adopted from Almería, wanted to make a contribution as a protagonist of Spanish democratic history with the only episode of the annulment of a conviction in the Cortes. According to the story of the then Air Force Lieutenant Colonel José Ignacio Domínguez (Madrid, 1945), the second term of Felipe González promoted a comprehensive amnesty, approved by the formula of Law 24/1986 on the rehabilitation of professional military.
Apart from tax amnesties, which fall into a different legal category, it has been an unusual event since the adoption of the Magna Carta, which “amended and supplemented” the amnesty of October 15, 1977, which “exempts all acts of political intent, whatsoever “, awarded result, classified as crimes and misdemeanors.” Because those who had the status of career officers or civil servants were given unequal treatment by denying them the opportunity to be reintegrated. Based on Article 14 of the Constitution, they wanted to correct this error through the principle of non-discrimination and it was the clearest expression of the so far Constitutional Court, which made this “labor amnesty” of December 1986 a thing of the past to repair the damage caused to nearly fifteen officers who had been disqualified in a war council because of their affiliation with the Democratic Military Union (UMD).
Lt. Col. Domínguez was part of the select group they called the “Captains of Democracy,” a green branch within the army that represented the hard core and repressive arm of the Franco regime. They were sentenced to life imprisonment and deportation for the crime of conspiracy to commit insurrection. of the military body. The temporary pardon allowed them to be released from prison, but justice was not served until ten years later when the sentence that prevented them from continuing their military career was overturned. “An amnesty is neither unconstitutional nor illegal, it was granted to me in 1986 and I was able to return to the army,” says the former fighter pilot, lawyer and environmentalist in Almería.
The airline captain at the time He was not arrested like the rest of his colleagues because he was in Paris Vacation. From there and later from Portugal, he acted as spokesman for the UMD while nine of the officers were tried in March 1975 in the Hoyo de Manzanares barracks with obvious legal defenselessness because they had been deprived of respected civil defense lawyers. Two years later, Domínguez voluntarily returned to Spain to face a court-martial and expelled from the army. The pardon requested in October 1977 allowed him not to serve the seven-year prison sentence, and a decade later the rehabilitation law was reinstated by the Vice President of the Government, Alfonso Guerra, who confronted the then Minister of Defense, Narcís Serra-entry into aviation, although this one was rather symbolic and humiliating.
“I went into the reserves and later enlisted as an Iberia pilot, but colleagues who wanted to continue their military careers were neither given a destination nor allowed to return to active duty.” “Was It was the first time that the legislature granted the possibility of incorporating an amnesty law into the constitution current, overturned the verdict that prevented him from becoming part of the army,” he argues. The close contact with national representatives such as Carlos Sanjuán and Julio Busquets from the PSOE and Joaquín Satrústegui from the UCD This was the key to achieving the goal, to which Alfonso Guerra would give the necessary impetus. “I don’t think anyone voted against it and only Alianza Popular abstained,” he added. “It made no sense to dismiss a man from the army because he demanded democracy,” he explains. The conviction had to be overturned and they called the scheme the Rehabilitation Act.
With a possible amnesty for those convicted in the trial now surging onto the public agenda, José Ignacio Domínguez assures us of this controversial debate that it is not a question of constitutionality, but a fundamentally political problem. “To be as aseptic as possible, I would tell you that the amnesty is completely legal and not like a pardon. It is a sign of living together, leaving the mistakes of the past behind. But if these gentlemen of Junts told us that they continue on the one-sided path, their intention would not be respected,” he explains. The beneficiaries of the 1986 amnesty received the Military Merit Cross in February 2010, the Aviation Merit Cross for Domínguez as an aviation lieutenant colonel, for his cooperation in the transition process, a recognition that he risked his career and promotion and even his personal freedom to defend democratic ideals. Of the first group that founded UMD in 1974, only four are still alive and five have already died.