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Spanish Rally To Back High-Profile Judge

Judge Baltasar Garzon attends the first day of his trial at Supreme court in Madrid on January 17.
Thousands of people have marched in Spain to show their support for top judge Baltasar Garzon, who is on trial for abuse of power.

The 56-year-old judge is being prosecuted for ordering a probe into the disappearance of 114,000 people during Spain's 1936-39 civil war and General Francisco Franco's subsequent dictatorship.

The Supreme Court last week opened a case against Garzon.

He is charged with exceeding his powers on the grounds that the alleged crimes were covered by an amnesty agreed in 1977 as Spain moved toward democracy two years after Franco's death.

Garzon won international fame with his attempt to extradite Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from London.

compiled from agency reports