Spain strips deceased former Chilean President Pinochet of a Spanish military honor

People light candles with the names of the detainees who were disappeared and executed during the military dictatorship led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, at the National Stadium, which served as a detention center in the early years of the regime, during the event marking the 50th anniversary of the 1973 military coup that toppled the government of late President Salvador Allende, in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

MADRID (AP) — Spain is stripping deceased former Chilean leader Gen. Augusto Pinochet of a Spanish military honor bestowed on him more than 40 years ago by the country’s former dictator, Gen. Francisco Franco.

The Cabinet of Spain’s acting government announced Tuesday that the Cross of Military Merit, an award for gallantry or merit granted to Pinochet in 1975, was being withdrawn.

The announcement came a day after the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-backed coup led by Pinochet that installed a brutal military dictatorship in Chile. Pinochet, who died in 2006, was never put on trial for crimes against humanity committed during his 17-year rule.

Government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez said the step represented Spain’s commitment to democratic values.

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Monday that 50 years ago Chilean democracy was “the victim of a brutal attack that shook the world.”

Stripping Pinochet of the Spanish medal would “make amends for an historical injustice,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.