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In Spain, renewed efforts to appease victims of dictatorship

PATERNA, Spain — Independent forensic experts in eastern Spain have unearthed four skulls among human remains attributed to 100 prisoners summarily executed more than eight decades ago while Gen. Francisco Franco was cementing his dictatorship.

Tuesday’s exhumation in Paterna, near the coastal city of Valencia, is the latest among many similar efforts led in the past decade by relatives of at least 114,000 or so victims of the Spanish Civil War, and the four decades of Francoism that endured subsequently. Their deaths were never officially investigated.

A recent government-led initiative to exhume Franco from a controversial shrine glorifying him by the end of the year has focused the country’s attention on how to open the anonymous mass graves in cemeteries and in unmarked ditches along rural roads across the country.