Billy the Kid, the police inspector accused of torture, receives a special pension for a police medal awarded in 1977

González Pacheco received the police’s silver Medal of Merit two days before the first democratic elections were held in Spain

For 41 years, the Spanish government has been paying a monthly bonus (15% of his salary) to the Franco-era police inspector investigated for torture José Antonio González Pacheco, known by the nickname “Billy the Kid”. In recent years this has meant a 15% increase in his retirement pension. Spain’s Ministry of the Interior admitted that much in response to a request from the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory. Billy the Kid, the subject of hundreds of complaints to the police for torturing individuals illegally held during the dictatorship, was awarded the police force’s silver Medal of Merit. He received the award from the then Minister of the Interior, Rodolfo Martín Villa in 1977, two days before the first democratic elections were held. According to the association, Martín Villa’s objective was "to reward him for services rendered as a torturer before the election of a new Parliament".

In its reply, the ministry specified that the police force’s silver Medal of Merit is a lifelong award and, as such, it means González Pacheco receives a salary increase of 15% for life, a sum which is paid monthly regardless of the size of his pension. According to the association, this means that the Franco-era inspector continues to receive a bonus on top of his pension thanks to the police honour he was awarded. As a consequence, the association has announced that it will call on the Spanish government to withdraw what they consider to be a monetary reward from "a person who committed countless crimes against freedom as a police officer. He was a torture machine, bent on persecuting and abusing people struggling for the return of their freedoms".

There have been countless attempts by representatives of Spanish and international justice to sit González Pacheco in the dock, for him to stand trial for torture. However, one by one they have either been shelved or a request for extradition has been declined. In 2014, a Spanish court rejected González Pacheco’s extradition to Argentina, a move requested by Judge María Romilda Servini. In addition, the National Court banned the media from publishing photographs of the former police inspector. The most recent attempt occurred this year, but the public prosecutor's office again opposed the possibility of a lawsuit against González Pacheco on charges of torture and illegal imprisonment due to the statute of limitations. Moreover, the public prosecutor believes that González Pacheco did not commit any crimes against humanity.

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