Spain awaits arrest warrant from Morocco to detain convicted pedophile

Spaniard asked to serve his sentence in Spain before he was mistakenly pardoned

Spain is waiting for an official arrest warrant from the government of Morocco to detain a 63-year-old convicted pedophile who was mistakenly granted a pardon by Moroccan King Mohammed VI, according to sources in the Spanish government.

In an unprecedented move Sunday night, the Moroccan monarch revoked the pardon granted to Daniel Galván Viña, who was serving a 30-year sentence in Morocco after he was convicted of abusing 11 children. King Mohammed last Tuesday granted him a pardon, along with a host of other Spaniards who had been serving time in Moroccan jails.

The decision to include Galván Viña in the pardon list -- a move that is being investigated by both Spain and Morocco -- has ignited waves of protests by Moroccans which were quickly and violently repressed by riot police on Friday. It is also the first serious crisis for the government of King Mohammed, since he assumed the throne 14 years ago.

Spanish government officials said Monday that they could not arrest Galván Viña without a warrant issued by Rabat. He is believed to have entered Spain through Ceuta on Thursday night.

Galván Viña has no pending criminal cases or complaints in Spain; government sources explain that he can legally enter the country by just showing his passport at the border.

“His Majesty (...) has decided to revoke the pardon", read a statement from the Moroccan Royal Family released on Sunday night. This revocation, the statement said, was made because of "deficiencies in the procedures undertaken” in granting the pardon and "the seriousness of the crimes committed and in respect for the victims’ rights."

Mohamed VI instructed Justice Minister Mustafa Ramid to "study with hisSpanish counterpart the consequences of the revocation of the pardon."

A settlement between the Moroccan royal palace and the Spanish government was brokered on Sunday, opening the way for Galván Viña, when he is apprehended, to complete serving his sentence in a Spanish jail, said Alberto Navarro, Spain’s ambassador to Morocco.

On Friday, Mohammed VI said in a televised address that, had he known that Galván Viña was serving a 30-year sentence for abusing 11 children in Kenitra, he would never have signed his release. Royal pardons are in theory irrevocable.

By law, Galván Viña cannot be extradited to Morocco because he is a Spanish citizen. "Under the Spanish-Moroccan agreement of cooperation in criminal matters, he can, however, serve the sentence imposed by Morocco in Spain," Navarro said. Before he was pardoned, the convicted pedophile had requested to be transferred to a Spanish prison.


Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS