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Beginning at 5.00 in the morning of 17 August, 1963, in the execution chamber of Carabanchel Prison, Madrid, two anarchists —Francisco Delgado and Joaquin Delgado of ‘Defensa Interior’, the anti-Francoist defence committee of the Libertarian Movement in Exile (CNT, FAI, FIJL) — were strangled and their spines snapped by the medieval device known as the ‘garrote vil.’ Both were innocent of the crimes with which they had been convicted just four days earlier by a summary Francoist court martial— planting exposive devices in Franco’s security and fascist labour headquarters, neither of which had caused death or serious injuries. Carlos Fonseca, one of Spain’s finest investigative journalists, has examined this black episode of the Franco years with his usual historian’s rigour and forensic tenacity: interviewing friends and families of the two men, anarchists, informers, police, lawyers and judges, recovering documents and scouring the archives. A fascinating and chilling insight into the anti-Francoist resistance, the workings of Francoist ‘justice’, and the still unresolved case of Delgado and Granado, Spain’s own ‘Sacco and Vanzetti.’

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