A mausoleum that holds the remains of 34,000 Spaniards who lost their lives in the 1936-1939 civil war will soon be without its most famous remains: The country's Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for the exhumation of the late dictator Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen, unanimously rejecting an appeal from his descendants that the removal not proceed. CNN reports the six judges also denied the family's request that the body be interred in Madrid's Almudena Cathedral, where his daughter is buried. Instead, the remains will be moved to the family tomb at Mingorrubio El Pardo, where Franco's wife is buried. The Guardian quotes acting Vice President Carmen Calvo as saying the exhumation would take place as soon as possible.
Franco's remains have been in the mausoleum, which sits outside Madrid and was partly built by thousands of his regime's prisoners, since shortly after his 1975 death. CNN reports that location has "divided opinion for decades." The AP reports the ruling can't be appealed, but a lawyer for Franco's descendants says they intend to take their case to Spain's Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Nearly 10,000 bodies of Franco opponents have been exhumed from mass graves this century; another 100,000 bodies are thought to be buried in thousands of unmarked mass graves throughout the country. (Read more Francisco Franco stories.)