|Minister of Interior|
3 December 1982 – 12 July 1988
|Prime Minister||Felipe González|
|Preceded by||Juan José Rosón|
|Succeeded by||José Luis Corcuera|
|Born||1942 (age 73–74)|
Career and activities
Barrionuevo was a member of the pro-Franco student union where he likely met Rodolfo Martín Villa, then interior minister. Barrionuevo served as deputy mayor of Madrid and was in charge of the municipal police. He was appointed interior minister on 3 December 1982 in the government of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez. He succeeded Juan José Rosón in the post. It was Rosón who advised Gonzalez to appoint Barrionuevo as interior minister. Barrionuevo was in office until 12 July 1988 when José Luis Corcuera replaced him as interior minister in a cabinet reshuffle. Barrionuevo became the minister of transport, tourism and communications in the same reshuffle.
Barrionuevo was unpopular during his tenure as interior minister due to his harsh and violent policies against Basque separatists. 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. A network, later called GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación), was discovered as a result of his efforts. In fact, the GAL was "a front for security forces and hired assassins paid with secret government funds."
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. 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.
He and his former deputy Rafael Vera were found guilty and sentenced to ten-year in prison on charges of their involvement in a "dirty war" against ETA on 24 January 1996. They were imprisoned on 29 July 1998. Therefore, their memberships to the GAL was legally established. However, they have denied the charges and were pardoned in 2001 after spending more than one year in prison.
In September 2001 he was again tried for his misuse of the public funds. José Luis Corcuera who succeeded him as interior minister was also tried with him. Both were found innocent of embezzlement charges in January 2002.
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