Mass grave of 17 female Civil War victims found in Seville

Women are believed to have been relatives of unionists and left-wing politicians

A forensic anthropologist has confirmed that the human remains found in a mass grave at Gerena cemetery (Seville province) are female, confirming the belief of a human-rights association that this is the final resting place for a group of 17 women who were executed in 1936 by forces loyal to General Franco for being the mothers, daughters, sisters or wives of unionists and left-wing politicians.

The Guillena Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory say these are the "Seventeen Roses," whose murder became one of the most notorious symbols of Francoist repression in Andalusia (not to be confused with Madrid's "Thirteen Roses," a group of young leftwing women killed in 1939.)

The association and Gerena authorities began the search in April 2010. The grave has now been sealed while the human-rights group awaits a grant to finance exhumation and DNA tests to identify all the bodies.

The Seventeen Roses were killed by firing squad on October 12, 1936 after being imprisoned, excommunicated and publicly humiliated. An eight-year-old child hiding in an olive grove was a witness to the executions.

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