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Mexican says she was stolen as baby in Spain under Franco

February 16, 2017

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Amnesty International and Ligia Ceballos Franco have filed a complaint with Mexican prosecutors, claiming the woman was stolen as a baby in Spain during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco and handed over to a well-heeled Mexican family who raised her as their own.

Ceballos Franco said Thursday she may be among an estimated 30,000 babies who were taken from their real parents under the Franco dictatorship from 1938 to 1975.

She claims the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Merida facilitated the adoption. The Merida archdiocese didn’t respond to request for comment.

After being told she was adopted, Ceballos Franco found a local government document in Madrid saying a baby had been handed over to her Mexican parents in 1968.

She found a birth record for Diana Ortiz Ramirez, which may be her. Her biological parents were apparently told she had died at birth. The targets of such deception were often opponents of the Franco regime.

Ceballos Franco wants Mexican prosecutors to conduct an investigation, based on a provision in the law against forced disappearances that covers hiding or denying someone’s identity.

“This could mark a precedent in the judicial concept of the search for the truth,” said Amnesty International Mexico Director Tania Reneaum.

Lawyers argue the statute of limitations does not apply until the disappearance — or identity theft —are cleared up.

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