Franco victim's daughter buried next to him after long battle

Supporters and relatives saw Ascensión Mendieta fulfil her ambition of being buried together with her father on Tuesday, after a life spent searching for justice.

Aged 93, she died in Madrid 80 years after Timoteo Mendieta was shot by a fascist firing squad and his body was dumped in a mass grave.

She became a justice campaigner for victims of Spanish dictator Gen Francisco Franco, and fought successfully to have her father’s body exhumed and given a proper burial.

“Now I can rest in peace,” she said in 2017, at the end of a legal battle that had taken her as far as Argentina following a lifetime of closed doors in Spain.

Sentenced to death

The second eldest of seven children from the village of Sacedón, east of Madrid, she never forgot how, as a 13 year old, she had opened the door after lunchtime one day to a group of men she described as “well spoken”. It was autumn 1939 and the soldiers asked where her father was sleeping the siesta, before taking him away to Guadalajara, 50km (31 miles) away.

According to his family, Timoteo Mendieta had seen no real action as a soldier on the losing Republican side in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). But, besides being the village butcher, he had been the head of the local branch of the UGT trade union. In the Spain led by Franco, that was enough to warrant a death sentence.

Mendieta was shot against the wall of Guadalajara’s cemetery on 16 November 1939,…

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