Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2013
Morocco's King Orders Probe Into Spaniard Pedophile Pardon After Protests
Morocco’s king orders probe into pedophile pardon
France 24, August 2, 2013, AFP
By News Wires (text)
The king of Morocco promised Saturday an investigation will be held into the royal pardon of a Spanish pedophile who had been serving a 30-year sentence in the country. It follows Friday’s violent protests against the pardon in the capital Rabat.
Morocco’s king said on Saturday he did not know the gravity of the offences committed by the Spanish pedophile whose royal pardon sparked violent protests, and promised an investigation.
“The king has ordered a thorough investigation to find out the responsibilities and failures that led to the regrettable release ... and to impose the necessary punishments,” the palace said in a statement released late on Saturday and carried by state news agency MAP.
“The king had not been informed at any time of the nature of the crimes perpetrated by that person,” the statement said, adding the king would never have agreed to the release of Daniel Galvan Fina if he had known “of the atrocity of the monstrous crimes of which he was found guilty”.
The pedophile, who was serving a 30-year sentence, was among 48 jailed Spaniards who were pardoned by King Mohamed VI on Tuesday at the request of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who visited Morocco last month.
Late on Friday, Moroccan police broke up a protest in the capital, Rabat, by hundreds outraged by the pardon. The Spaniard was convicted 18 months ago by criminal courts in Kenitra - near Rabat - of raping children aged 4 to 15.
The Justice Ministry said in a statement on Friday the pardons had been issued based on Morocco’s national interests and its friendly relations with Spain.
The king often pardons prisoners on special occasions, such as Throne Day last Tuesday, but the decision to release the Spaniards at the request of the monarch of a former colonial power riled many Moroccans.
Riot police break up Morocco pedophile protest
France 24, August 2, 2013, AFP
By News Wires (text)
Several people were injured in clashes with police in Morocco Friday as authorities dispersed hundreds of demonstrators protesting against a royal pardon handed to a Spanish man, who was convicted in 2011 of raping 11 children aged between 4 and 15.
Riot police broke up a protest by hundreds of Moroccan demonstrators late on Friday against a royal pardon for a Spanish pedophile serving a 30-year sentence for raping and filming children as young as 4.
In running clashes with the demonstrators, baton-wielding police prevented them from gathering in front of the Moroccan parliament in the centre of the capital Rabat, injuring several people including journalists.
The convicted pedophile is among 48 jailed Spaniards who were pardoned by King Mohamed VI on Tuesday at the request of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who visited Morocco last month.
“We are here to know who is responsible for that pardon. It is a shame, they are selling our children,” Najia Adib, president of Don’t Touch My Children association, told Reuters moments after she and her teenage daughter had been attacked by riot police.
The demonstration followed an online campaign by outraged activists. Protests were also reported in several other cities in the North African country.
Protesters demanded that the royal pardon be revoked and the Spaniard be brought back to jail. The government said the man had been expelled to Spain.
Hamid Krayri, a lawyer for families of the victims, named the pedophile as Daniel Vino Galvan and said he had been convicted 18 months ago by criminal courts in Kenitra, near Rabat, of raping and filming children aged between 4 and 15.
“He is a retired Spaniard who owns two flats here in Kenitra,” Krayri, who is a member of Morocco’s Human Rights Association, told Reuters. He said he had filed a complaint against Galvan three years ago when activists showed him discs containing footage of the Spaniard and his victims.
The royal palace made no immediate comment, but the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the pardon had been issued based on Morocco’s national interests under the friendly relations between the two countries.
“That person is banned in Morocco’s territory, he cannot return,” Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid told Reuters on Thursday.
The king, like some other Middle Eastern rulers, often pardons prisoners on special occasions, such as Throne Day on July 30, but the decision to release the Spaniards at the request of the monarch of a former colonial power has riled many Moroccans.
“It is a big mistake. We want the annulment of the king’s decision and apologies for the victim families and the Moroccan people,” Abdelali Hamieddine, a member of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), the senior partner in Morocco’s coalition government, said during the protest.
He said the government is not to blame because the pardon came from the royal palace.
“This is proof that our justice is a toy,” said Hamza Mahfoud, one of the protest organisers.
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