Dozens injured in Morocco at protest over royal pardon

The Spanish royal palace expressed the crown’s “deep gratitude” when the prisoners were pardoned on 30 July.

Note: The article below is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Dozens injured in Morocco at protest over Spanish paedophile’s release” was written by Stephen Burgen, for The Guardian on Sunday 4th August 2013 23.09 UTC

Dozens of people were injured at the weekend when police in Morocco baton-charged demonstrators protesting against the royal pardon granted to a Spanish paedophile. Daniel Galván Viña was released after serving barely two years of his 30-year sentence for sexually abusing 11 children aged between three and 14 years old.

On Sunday night King Mohammed VI revoked the pardon “given the seriousness of the crime” and ordered his justice minister to discuss the issue with his opposite number in Spain. According to the Spanish ambassador in Rabat, this opens the way to negotiating for Galván to complete the remaining 28 years of his sentence in Spain.

Galván, 64, had been last name on a list of 48 Spanish prisoners submitted by Spain’s King Juan Carlos for pardon. Most of the others had been jailed for drug trafficking.

The Spanish royal palace expressed the crown’s “deep gratitude” when the prisoners were pardoned on 30 July.

According to the Moroccan digital newspaper Lakome, Galván was released at the express request of the CNI, Spain’s national intelligence agency. The organisation allegedly extracted him from Iraq where he worked as a spy within the military under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Galván is an Iraqi from Basra and appears to have acquired his Spanish name from the secret service, along with a new identity as a retired professor of oceanography. He moved to Rabat eight years ago where he organised parties in his home for poor and vulnerable children whom he abused and photographed.

According to Galván’s lawyer, the pardon came as a complete surprise to his client but he lost no time in contacting the Spanish consulate in Morocco to expedite his departure. Lakome says his release may form part of a spy exchange between Madrid and Rabat. The Moroccan justice ministry said in a statement that such pardons “are granted for interests of state within the framework of friendly diplomatic relations between countries”.

Galván’s trial and conviction in September 2011 attracted widespread media attention in Morocco. As well as the 30-year sentence, he was ordered to pay €4,800 (£4,170) to the families of eight of his victims.

While many of the 48 prisoners granted pardon have yet to be freed pending payment of fines, Galván was granted safe conduct to Spain’s north African enclave of Ceuta without paying the families. The Spanish group Lawyers Without Frontiers is demanding that he complete his jail sentence in Spain. Further demonstrations are expected this week.

Abdelali Hamieddine, a senior member of the ruling Islamist Justice and Development party, said “Moroccans have the right to demonstrate when they feel humiliated and the authorities don’t have the right to react so violently.”

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