Moroccan king revokes Spanish paedophile’s pardon

King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Sunday revoked a pardon granted to a Spanish serial paedophile whose release sparked angry protests in the kingdom.

Official Moroccan news agency MAP published a palace statement saying that the king "has decided to withdraw the pardon previously accorded to Daniel Galvan Vina". The "exceptional" decision was taken because of the "gravity of the crimes committed and out of respect for the victims' rights", it said.

Several media reports say Vina has left the country for Spain. But Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid will discuss "the next step after the pardon's revocation" with Madrid, according to the MAP agency.

This "opens the way for Rabat to request the paedophile serves in a Spanish jail" the 28 years remaining of his sentence, Spanish ambassador to Morocco Alberto Navarro told Spanish daily El Pais.

The king's announcement came shortly before a demonstration against the pardon, after baton-wielding police dispersed protests on Friday.

Hundreds gathered in Kenitra, north of the capital Rabat, where Vina was imprisoned. The protest took place under a heavy police presence but was peaceful. Demonstrators expressed satisfaction at the king's actions, but continued to press for explanations as to how the initial pardon occurred. Sit-ins planned for Casablanca on Tuesday and Rabat on Wednesday are still planned to go ahead.

The king pardoned Vina on 30 July and he was released on Tuesday. Vina, who is said to be in his 60s, was convicted of raping 11 children between the ages of four and 15 and sentenced to 30 years in prison in September 2011. He was among 48 Spanish prisoners released in response to a request from Spanish King Juan Carlos, who visited Morocco in mid-July, according to the justice ministry.

In Spain, the opposition socialist party demanded explanations from the government.

King Mohammed VI had been unaware of the nature of the man's crimes and had ordered a probe into his release, according to MAP. The investigation should "determine the responsibilities and the failures that led to this regrettable release", the palace said.

"The king was never informed – in any way or at any time – of the seriousness of the abject crimes of which the person concerned was convicted," the palace said. "It is clear that the sovereign would never have consented" to his release, given the "monstrous crimes" he committed.

The pardon sparked outrage in the North African country, which has seen several high-profile paedophile arrests in recent months. Protesters slammed the pardon as "an international shame", with one demonstrator saying that the state "defends the rape of Moroccan children".

Police arrested a British suspected paedophile on June 20, after local residents overheard screams from a six-year-old girl he had allegedly abducted. And a Casablanca court jailed a 60-year-old Frenchman for 12 years in May after convicting him of paedophilia.

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