Former police inspector Antonio “Billy the Kid” González Pacheco appeared in court on Thursday, as part of his ongoing battle against extradition to Argentina. The 67-year-old, who is facing 13 torture charges in a human-rights abuse case filed in Argentina by a group of Spaniards, appeared before the High Court wearing a motorcycle helmet to hide his face from the barrage of photographers that awaited him.
Thursday marked the second time that Billy the Kid – who got his name from his habit of spinning his pistol on his finger while interrogating his victims – has refused to be extradited to Argentina. He appeared for an initial hearing earlier this year after international arrest warrants were issued in 2013 against him and Jesús Muñecas, a former Spanish Civil Guard officer, who is also wanted in Argentina on murder charges.
Buenos Aires Judge María Servini opened an investigation against the two men based on the universal justice doctrine. Victims of the Franco dictatorship filed a case in the South American country after Spanish courts refused to deal with their complaints.
Victims of the dictatorship filed a case in South America after Spanish courts refused to deal with their complaints
During the hearing, High Court prosecutors stated their opposition to sending González Pacheco to Argentina, arguing that the statute of limitations of the charges he is facing has run out. They also argue that Billy the Kid should face criminal proceedings in his own country, and have offered similar arguments against sending Muñecas to Buenos Aires.
González Pacheco told the court that he could not recall ever having faced torture charges in Spain. “Some years ago, there were some abuse charges, but we never were convicted,” he told the court.
His lawyer said that González Pacheco feared for his safety because he has been followed and threatened by people. The court only allowed the cameras to take photographs of him from behind.
A group of victims of the Franco regime was sat in the public gallery during the hearing. When the defense lawyer told the judges’ panel that there was no evidence that some of González Pacheco’s alleged victims had to be hospitalized for as long as 30 days, as some have alleged in their complaint, one man raised his hand and said: “I spent 62 days in hospital.”
Presiding Judge Concepción Espejel called order and threatened to throw everyone out of the courtroom. The man later said: “I am in a court of law, I can’t lie.”