Paedophile pardoned in Morocco held in Spain

Daniel Galvan Vina could now spend remaining 28 years of term in Spanish prison

A riot policeman charges at protesters during a demonstration in Rabat on Saturday against a royal pardon for a Spanish paedophile. Photograph: Reuters

A riot policeman charges at protesters during a demonstration in Rabat on Saturday against a royal pardon for a Spanish paedophile. Photograph: Reuters

 

Spanish police have arrested a convicted paedophile who was pardoned by Morocco’s King Mohamed VI last week, a source at Spain’s Interior Ministry said tonight.

Daniel Galvan Vina (64), who was serving a 30-year sentence in Morocco and was among 48 jailed Spaniards pardoned at the request of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, was arrested in the south-eastern city of Murcia.

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

A court source said Galvan would appear at one of Spain’s top courts, the Audencia Nacional, early tomorrow. The judge will then decide if Galvan will go to prison in Spain, according to the source.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry confirmed in a statement that Galvan had been arrested in Murcia after the North African kingdom issued an international arrest warrant against him.

The pardon was revoked by King Mohamed VI yesterday following a protest in front of parliament on Friday over the decision to release Galvan, who had raped and filmed at least 11 children aged between four and 15.

The king has promised an investigation into Galvan’s release and said he did not know the gravity of the paedophile’s offences when the royal pardon was issued.

Morocco’s royal palace said it had fired prisons chief Hafid Ben Hachem, one of the oldest figures in the Moroccan regime who had served King Mohamed VI and his father Hassan II.

The Moroccan Justice Ministry said earlier today it was sending two senior officials to Spain tomorrow to discuss the matter with their counterparts in the Spanish ministry.

Dozens of people were injured at the weekend when police in Morocco baton-charged demonstrators protesting against the royal pardon.

Daniel Galvan Vina was released after serving barely two years of his 30-year sentence for sexually abusing 11 children aged between three and 14 years old.

Last 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 Galvan to complete the remaining 28 years of his sentence in Spain.

According to the Moroccan digital newspaper Lakome, Galvan 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.

Galvan 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 Galvan’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”.

Galvan’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 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, Galvan 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 is Spain. Further demonstrations are expected this week.

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