José Barrionuevo

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José Barrionuevo
(Barrionuevo) Alfonso Guerra comparece en rueda de prensa junto a otros miembros del Gobierno para informar de los resultados del referendúm de la OTAN. Pool Moncloa. 12 de marzo de 1986 (cropped).jpeg
Barrionuevo in 1986
Minister of Interior
In office
3 December 1982 – 12 July 1988
Prime MinisterFelipe González
Preceded byJuan José Rosón
Succeeded byJosé Luis Corcuera
Personal details
Born1942 (age 76–77)

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 a 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 Gonzalez 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 González, began to reorganize the ministry of interior.[6] A network, later called GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación), was discovered as a result of his efforts.[6] Unnamed "authorities" subsequently identified the GAL as "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 a 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]

On 24 January 1996, he and his former deputy Rafael Vera were found guilty and sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of their involvement in a "dirty war" against ETA.[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 "Gonzalez 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. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. 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. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013. – via Highbeam (subscription required)