José Barrionuevo

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José Barrionuevo
Minister of Interior
In office
3 December 1982 – 12 July 1988
Prime Minister Felipe González
Preceded by Juan José Rosón
Succeeded by José Luis Corcuera
Personal details
Born 1942 (age 72–73)
Nationality Spanish

José Barrionuevo (born 1942)[1] is a Spanish politician. He was the minister of interior from 1982 to 1988. He was jailed from 1998 to 2001 due to his involvement in dirty war against ETA members.

Career and activities[edit]

Barrionuevo was a member of the pro-Franco student union where he likely met Rodolfo Martín Villa, then interior minister.[2] Barrionuevo served as deputy mayor of Madrid and was in charge of the municipal police.[2] He was appointed interior minister on 3 December 1982 in the government of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez.[1][3] He succeeded Juan José Rosón in the post.[1] It was Rosón who advised Gonzales to appoint Barrionuevo as interior minister.[2] Barrionuevo was in office until 12 July 1988 when José Luis Corcuera replaced him as interior minister in a cabinet reshuffle.[1][4] Barrionuevo became the minister of transport, tourism and communications in the same reshuffle.[4]


Barrionuevo was unpopular during his tenure as interior minister due to his harsh and violent policies against Basque separatists.[5] In May 1994, newly appointed interior minister Juan Alberto Belloch, who was also justice minister in the cabinet of Felipe Gonzales, began to reorganize the ministry of interior.[6] A network, later called GAL, was discovered as a result of his efforts.[6] In fact, the GAL was "a front for security forces and hired assassins paid with secret government funds."[7]

In addition, on 16 December 1994, two policemen met Judge Baltasar Garzón and told him that Barrionuevo and other senior officials had links to dirty war against separatists.[8] Based on these statements Barrionuevo and other former security officials were tried in 1996 and "accused of funding and directing more than two dozen murders" of separatists during the 1980s.[9]

He and his former deputy Rafael Vera were found guilty and sentenced to ten-year in prison on charges of their involvement in "dirty war" against ETA on 24 January 1996.[10][11][12] They were imprisoned on 29 July 1998.[10][12][13] Therefore, their memberships to the GAL was legally established.[7] However, they have denied the charges[13] and were pardoned in 2001 after spending more than one year in prison.[14][15]

In September 2001 he was again tried for his misuse of the public funds.[14] José Luis Corcuera who succeeded him as interior minister was also tried with him.[14] Both were found innocent of embezzlement charges in January 2002.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "Spanish Interior Ministers". Rulers. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Paddy Woodworth (2001). Dirty War, Clean Hands: ETA, the GAL and Spanish Democracy. Cork University Press. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-85918-276-5. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Spanish Ex-Aide Indicted in Killing of Basques". The New York Times. 25 January 1996. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Gonzales names new cabinet". Associated Press. 9 July 1988. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Edward Schumacher (27 July 1986). "Changes are few as Spain swears in cabinet". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  6. ^ a b José María Magone (2009). Contemporary Spanish Politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-415-42188-1. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Spanish ex-minister sentenced for 'dirty war' role". CNN (Madrid). 29 July 1998. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  8. ^ José María Maravall; Adam Przeworski (2003). Democracy and the Rule of Law. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 288. Retrieved 5 September 2013.   – via Questia (subscription required)
  9. ^ "End of an Era?". Time. 25 January 1996. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Ex-minister jailed in 'dirty war' scandal". BBC. 29 July 1998. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Spanish Premier Reported Clear in Basque Deaths". The New York Times. 26 April 1996. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Chronology for Basques in Spain". MAR Data. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "'Dirty-war' ex-minister to be denied pardon". Expatica (Madrid). 17 November 2004. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c Giles Tremlett (20 September 2001). "Spanish ex-ministers on trial for hush fund scandal". The Guardian (Madrid). Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  15. ^ Alasdair Fotheringham (18 January 2012). "Judge who arrested Pinochet now finds himself in the dock". The Independent (Madrid). Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Ciaran Giles (22 January 2002). "Court absolves former Socialist security ministers of embezzlement charges, finds five officials guilty". AP Worldstream. Retrieved 19 October 2013.  – via Highbeam (subscription required)