Rabat: Several hundred Moroccans took to the streets late Wednesday to protest against the king’s pardon of a convicted Spanish paedophile and demand more independence for the judiciary.
Despite King Mohammad VI’s hasty revocation of the pardon and the later re-arrest of the man in Spain, demonstrators marched in front of the parliament building in Rabat, where a previous protest had been dispersed violently on Friday.
This time, the demonstration passed off peacefully and the police presence was muted.
The protesters were demanding a full account into how the pardon could have been granted to Daniel Galvan, who was convicted in 2011 to 30 years behind bars for the rape of 11 children aged between four and 15.
A royal palace statement said King Mohammad had been unaware of the nature of Galvan’s crimes. On Monday the Moroccan monarch dismissed the director of prisons after an inquiry blamed his department for Galvan’s release under royal pardon.
In the face of public anger over the case, the king on Tuesday met families of the victims and expressed to them his “compassion” and “empathy”.
Galvan, who was remanded in custody in Spain on Tuesday as a flight risk, cannot be extradited back to Morocco under the terms of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. An exception would have to be made if he is sent back to the north African nation.
He could serve out his sentence in Spain, a Spanish official said after talks Tuesday with Moroccan officials in Madrid.