Rabat - King Mohamed VI of Morocco on Sunday revoked a
pardon granted to a Spanish serial paedophile whose release sparked angry
protests in the kingdom, a palace statement said.
The king "has decided to withdraw the pardon previously
accorded to Daniel Galvan Vina", said the text of the statement, published
by the official MAP news agency.
It said the "exceptional" decision was taken
because of the "gravity of the crimes committed and out of respect for the
Although several media reports have said Vina has left the
country, the agency said the justice minister would discuss with Madrid
"the next step after the pardon's revocation".
This "opens the way for Rabat to request the paedophile
serves in a Spanish jail" the 28 years remaining of his sentence, Spain's
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, where
Vina was imprisoned, according to an AFP reporter on the scene.
The protest took place under a heavy police presence but
passed off peacefully. Demonstrators expressed satisfaction at the king's
actions but continued to press for explanations as to how the initial pardon
could have occurred.
Sit-ins planned for Casablanca on Tuesday and Rabat on
Wednesday were still due to go ahead.
Vina, said to be in his 60s, was pardoned by the king and freed
last Tuesday from jail. He had been sentenced in September 2011 to 30 years in
Convicted of raping 11 children aged between four and 15,
Vina was among 48 Spanish prisoners released in response to a request from
Spanish King Juan Carlos, who visited Morocco in mid-July, the justice ministry
In Spain, the opposition socialist party demanded
explanations from the government.
Earlier, the palace said in a statement carried on MAP that
the king had been unaware of the nature of the man's crimes and had ordered a
probe into his release.
The investigation should "determine the
responsibilities and the failures that led to this regrettable release",
the statement 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 added.
"It is clear that the sovereign would never have
consented" to his release, given the "monstrous crimes" he
committed, the statement concluded.
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 the state "defends the rape of
On 20 June, police arrested a British suspected paedophile
after local residents overheard screams from a six-year-old girl he allegedly
And in May, a Casablanca court jailed a 60-year-old
Frenchman for 12 years after convicting him of paedophilia.