Spanish paedophile erroneously pardoned by Moroccan king is rearrested

Daniel Galvan, sentenced to 30 years for rape of 11 children

Convicted paedophile Daniel Galvan (63) was rearrested in southeastern Spain yesterday, six days after Morocco’s king Mohamed VI pardoned him erroneously.

Galvan’s detention was the result of feverish consultations between the Moroccan and Spanish justice ministers, and it is possible he may serve the remaining 28 years of his sentence in Spain.

Galvan’s return to Spain via the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco sparked angry demonstrations in Moroccan cities. Police injured dozens of protestors in front of the parliament in Rabat on Friday night. Sit-ins challenging the authority of the king as “commander of the faithful” were scheduled to continue in Casablanca and Rabat today and tomorrow.

Galvan was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the rape of 11 Moroccan children aged between three and 15. Spanish newspaper El País reported he had lured children to his apartment in Rabat for parties. The tribunal that convicted him said Galvan "took advantage of the poverty of the families".


Sex tourism is rampant in Morocco, where the NGO Don't Touch My Child estimates 26,000 children are raped annually. Many of these crimes are committed by "the jet set of Marrakech . . . including powerful European politicians and business executives," El Mundo reported.

Galvan was included in a group of 48 Spaniards pardoned at the request of Spain’s King Juan Carlos during a July visit to Morocco.

On Saturday Mohamed’s palace ceded to unprecedented outrage, issuing a statement that said the king “was never informed . . . of the gravity of the abject crimes for which (Galvan) was convicted”. It said the king would not have pardoned Galvan had he known of “the atrocity of the monstrous crimes of which he was found guilty”.

Unprecedented step
As protests gained momentum, the king took the unprecedented step on Sunday night of annulling the pardon. However, Galvan had by then returned to Spain.

Moroccan newspaper Lakome reported that the Spanish Centro Nacional de Inteligencia obtained Galvan's liberation, an allegation denied by the intelligence agency.

Galvan was born in Basra, Iraq, under a different name, and told his lawyer he had worked with western intelligence agencies to overthrow Saddam Hussein. In Rabat, where he lived for eight years, he behaved "like a man who committed his crimes without fear of consequences, as if he benefited from special protection," Lakome said.

Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe is Paris Correspondent of The Irish Times