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In Spain’s ‘Stolen-Babies’ Scandal, Doctor Escapes Punishment

Nearly 50 years ago, Inés Madrigal was taken from her parents, an unwitting participant in a scheme that started under Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s regime as a way of removing infants from families that opposed him.

On Monday a Spanish court acknowledged a former gynecologist had played a role in the 1969 abduction of Ms. Madrigal, who was an infant at the time. It was the first case in which a doctor faced trial in Spain for what is known here as the scandal of the stolen babies. But Ms. Madrigal’s victory was, in her words, bittersweet.

The judges at a provincial court in Madrid found there was irrefutable evidence to show that Eduardo Vela, 85, was involved in the abduction of Ms. Madrigal. But they said that the charges brought against him fell under a statute of limitations, which required the charges to be filed within 10 years of Ms. Madrigal becoming an adult. This meant that Dr. Vela couldn’t be convicted of any of them.

The issue became a national scandal in 2011, when the Spanish judiciary was forced into action after Anadir, an association that represents people searching for missing children or parents, filed its first complaints.

Read entire article at NYT