Daniel Galván scandal

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Daniel Galván scandal
Date July 30, 2013 (2013-07-30) – August 10, 2013 (2013-08-10)
Also known as Danielgate
Participants Mohammed VI, Mohammed VI's royal cabinet, Daniel Galván, Mustapha Ramid, Spanish Ambassador in Morocco, Juan Carlos of Spain

The Daniel Galván scandal (also known as DanielgateArabic: فضيحة دانيال مغتصب الأطفال‎) was a political scandal in which Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, issued a pardon for a Spanish convicted serial child-rapist named Daniel Galván.[1] The Spanish citizen was serving a 30 years prison sentence. He was arrested in Morocco in late 2011, for having raped at least 11 Moroccan children in Kenitra—a city he had been living in since 2004.[1] The pardon came some 18 months after his incarceration as part of a diplomatic gesture from Mohammed VI to Spain, on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of his enthronement. The Pardon sparked unprecedented popular outrage in Morocco where several protests were held denouncing the monarch's decision.[2] This prompted Mohammed VI to first issue a communiqué in which he denied being aware of the gravity of the crimes committed by Daniel Galvan, then to cancel his pardon but only after the Spanish citizen had already left the country several days before on an expired passport—with the knowledge of Moroccan authorities. It was revealed later that this wasn't the first time Mohammed VI had pardoned a convicted foreign paedophile, having pardoned Hervé Le Gloannec, a French citizen convicted of child rape and child pornography in 2006.[3][4][5]

It was later revealed that Daniel Galvan did not apply for a pardon and only requested to be transferred to a prison in Spain.[6][7][8] El Pais wrote that the royal cabinet in an effort to please Spain, sought to accelerate the normal process of prison transfer—which could take up to two years—and accorded the unwarranted pardon for the convicted pedophile.[6][7][8]

The scandal[edit]

King Mohammed VI customarily pardons large numbers of convicted prisoners on national holidays[5]. In 2009 he pardonned as much as 24,865 of Morocco's ~60,000 inmate's population.[9][10] In 2005 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country's independence, he pardoned 10,000 convicts, among-which 336 foreigners[11] (one of them was a convicted French pedophile as a Wikileaks cable would reveal). As he was celebrating the 14th-anniversary of his enthronement on 30 July 2013, he issued a pardon for 1200 inmates.[12] The MAP—Morocco's state news agency—released a statement declaring that among the pardoned figured 48 Spanish prisoners, which were released as a gesture demonstrating the good relations between the Mohammed VI and King Juan Carlos of Spain who had just visited the country a week earlier.[1][12]

On July 31, internet media platforms Andalus Press and Lakome, revealed that among the pardonned prisoners, figured a Spanish serial child rapist who was arrested in September 2011, and sentenced to 30 years in prison in a very controversial case.[13] The Spaniard was convicted of raping at least 11 Moroccan children aged 4–14.[1] Lakome called the lawyer of the victims—Mohammed Krayri— which confirmed the release of Daniel Galvan, and stated that as of 31 July 2013 he engaged a lawyer to reclaim his assets in Morocco, which were frozen because he did not pay the court-ordered damages to the victims—50,000 Dirhams for each of the 11 victims (~USD5,000).[14] Lakome later reported that Daniel Galvan successfully reclaimed his passport at the Kenitra court and had left the country on Thursday 1 August 2013, through Morocco's effective land border with Spain in the disputed exclave of Ceuta.[13] Daniel reportedly crossed the border on an expired passport with the consent of Moroccan police[13]

Between 30 July and 4 August 2013, there was a media blackout on the scandal in Morocco[15][16] with the exception of some Online media such as Lakome, Andalus Press, Yabiladi. Reuters and the Daily Mail were the first international media to report on the story in 1 August.[1]

As early as Wednesday 31 July there was huge outrage in the Moroccan social media community which culminated by the call for a protest after the Ramadan Ftour meal in the evening of Friday 2 August in front of the parliament in Rabat.[15][17][18]

On Friday evening thousands[15] of peaceful protesters gathered before the Parliament building in Rabat.[15][19] The protest was violently repressed by Moroccan auxiliary forces who beat up the activists, the news reporters and photographers, causing injuries for dozens of them.[2][15][15][19] The police also confiscated filming material and cellphones. The following day—Saturday 3 August—the news of the scandal and the ensuing crackdown on the peaceful protests, made the headlines in most international media (Aljazeera, France 24, CNN ) where pictures of bleeding protesters were shown. On the evening of Saturday —while Morocco's mainstream media were still ignoring the story—[15] Mohammed VI's palace released a statement in which he denied being aware of the gravity of the crimes committed by Daniel Galvan and that an investigation would be ordered to determine where the fault and responsibility lies in his decision.[2]

On Sunday 4 August, news of the story opened on France's popular news program Le 13 heures on both TF1 and France 2 where footage of the violent police crackdown on Friday's protest was shown. On the evening of the same day Mohammed VI issued a statement in which he announced the cancellation of his pardon.[30] No royal pardon has ever been cancelled in Morocco, though some observers noted that a Royal pardon was in theory irrevocable[15]

On Tuesday 6 August the King held ceremony—largely publicised locally—in which he was shown greeting and hugging the alleged parents and families of the children abused by Daniel Galvan.[20]

On Wednesday 7 August 2013, Daniel Galvan was arrested in Spain after Moroccan authorities filed an international arrest warrant for him. Pictures of the arrest showing Galvan being handcuffed and inside a Spanish police car circulated largely in the Moroccan media. This news and images were very widely reported in Morocco's mainstream and pro-regime press. Spanish courts later refused to extradite him to Morocco.[21]


In a leaked diplomatic cable of the US consulate in Casablanca which detailed the Morocco-Human trafficking report for 2010, it was revealed that Mohammed VI had pardoned in 2006 a convicted French pedophile.[3][4][5] Hervé le Gloannec, was arrested in Marrakech while having sex with a 15-year-old boy and in possession of a large amount of child pornography.[3] He sentenced to 4 years, reduced to 2 years then pardoned by the Moroccan King.[3][4][5]


Mohammed VI's response[edit]

The first reaction of the monarch came on the evening of Saturday 3 August, 4 days after the release of Daniel Galvan. He first published a communiqué read in the evening news of state media. He denied being aware of the gravity of the crimes committed of Daniel Galvan.[2] On Sunday 4 August, the palace cabinet released another statement in which they declare that the pardon for Galvan has been revoked. On Tuesday 5 August, the alleged families of the victims were summoned to the palace where they were filmed being greeted and hugged by Mohammed VI.[20]

On Tuesday, Morocco through its Ministry of Justice, issued an international arrest warrant against Daniel Galvan.

Use of bot accounts to flood Twitter[edit]

Public outrage was concentrated in Twitter and Facebook,[22] where the hashtags #لا_للعفو_عن_مغتصب_الأطفال and #Danielgate were used to denounce the monarch's decision. Several automated bot accounts flooded these hashtags with tweets which repeated excerpts from the official communiqué of Mohammed VI.[23] A number of these bot accounts were used a few months earlier to promote Mounir Majidi's case in a lawsuit he filed in Paris against Moroccan independent journalist Ahmed Benchemsi.[23]

Spain's reaction[edit]

The first official reaction came from the Spanish royal cabinet, they declared that King Juan Carlos had in fact demanded a royal pardon for some Spanish prisoners without further details.[24] They added that it is the Spanish embassy in Morocco who fixed the list of detainees who would be pardoned.[24]

Morocco's cabinet[edit]

None of Morocco's political parties or the cabinet reacted to the scandal before the statement of Mohammed VI—with the notable exception of palace affiliated Party of Authenticity and Modernity. This party founded by Fouad Ali El Himma, had some of its members issue a statement before Saturday 3 August which incidentally paraphrased the statement which the palace

The first official Moroccan reaction came from Mustapha Ramid, who released a statement on Friday 2 August, in which he announced that the pardon was the King's decision which was dictated by national interest.[25] He later denied being involved in drafting the list of pardoned prisoners, and stressed that the pardon was an exclusive prerogative of the King, adding that it came as part of strategic relations linking Morocco and Spain and must have been done for higher interests of the nation and came as a result of the relations between two kings.[17][19][25][26][27]

Moroccan media[edit]

Before Monday 5 August, Morocco's printed press did not cover the scandal nor the strong reactions it was causing on social media websites, with the exception of "Akhbar al-Yawm"–a daily edited by journalist Taoufik Bouachrine.

Similarly Moroccan Radios and TV (note: all broadcast channels are state-owned in Morocco) did not cover the story before the statements of the palace.

Civil society and Online activists[edit]

Reactions of Morocco's officially registered NGOs were almost unanimously limited to restating the position expressed in Mohmmed VI's press releases. Najat Anouar, president of "Matqich Waldi", an anti-child sexual abuse NGO, stated that the pardon was an exclusive prerogative of the King which he had the discretion of using.[22][28] The NGO failed to comment or express opposition to the pardon.[22][28]

The process of the Royal pardon in Morocco[edit]

According to the Dahir n° 1-57-387 of 16 rejeb 1377 (6 February 1958), the Royal pardon is an exclusive and discretionary prerogative of the Moroccan King.[29] It must however pass through a process in which a commission gives a preliminary advice for the King who makes the ultimate decision.[29]

According to the aforementioned Dahir, this "Pardon commission" is composed of the following:[29]

  • The Minister of Justice, his deputy or the president of his cabinet (Mustapha Ramid and his Chief-of-cabinet Mohamed Benalilou)
  • The Director of the royal cabinet or his deputy (officially Rochdi Chraibi)
  • The first president of the Supreme court of his representative (Mustapha Fares)[30]
  • The general prosecutor of the supreme court or his representative (Mustapha Madah)[31]
  • The director of the directorate for "criminal affairs and pardons" or his representative (Mohamed Abdennabaoui)[31][32]
  • The director of the penitentiary administration or his representative (Hafid Benhachem)
  • Secretariat of the commission is conducted by a civil servant of the Ministry of Justice

The commission is tasked with examining the requests for pardon which are submitted by the prisoners themselves.[26][29] It then emits a consultative opinion to the royal cabinet with the King having the final discretionary decision.[26][29] Royal pardons in Morocco are common and are not published on the country's official bulletin. Only the number of pardoned convicts is communicated to the public in a press release of the MAP (Morocco state's press agency). After the scandal Mohammed VI promised to reform the Pardon process. Apart from dismissing Hafid Benhachem[33] (then 77-year-old), it is not known if any no further actions followed.

Other controversial pardons[edit]

It was also revealed that amongst the pardoned figured a drug trafficking suspect, who was released before standing trial.[34] He had resisted arrest using a firearm.[34] There was, Antonio Garcia, a recidivist drug trafficker arrested in possession of 9 tons of Hashish in Tangiers and sentenced to 10 years.[8] Some media claimed that his release embarrassed Spain.[8]


Arrest of Ali Anouzla and Censorship of Lakome[edit]

Ali Anouzla, editor-in-chief of the Arabic version of Lakome, which had revealed the scandal, was arrested on 17 September on Terrorism charges after he had linked to an El Pais-article containing a video allegedly from AQIM.[35] Additionally, independent media platform Lakome.com was blocked in Morocco starting from 17 October 2013.[35]

The crimes of Daniel Galvan[edit]

In his apartment in Kenitra, Daniel Galvan raped and filmed at least 11 Moroccan children aged 2–16, the victims were:[36]

  • Nawal (2 years-old)
  • Rkia (8 years-old)
  • Saïdia (9 years-old)
  • Souad (6 years-old)
  • Aziza (6 years-old)
  • Omar (14 years-old)
  • Amal (6 years-old)
  • Intissar (6 years-old)
  • Fatima (11 years-old)
  • Karima (7 years-old)
  • Hanane (5 years-old)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Fury in Morocco after king PARDONS Spanish paedophile who raped 11 local children". Daily Mail. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Furious Moroccans plan protest over Spanish paedophile". AFP. 3 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Millard (16 February 2010). "MOROCCO: 2010 ANNUAL TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS". Consulate Casablanca. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Pauline Hofmann (5 August 2013). "Un pédophile français avait déjà été gracié au Maroc". FranceTvinfo. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "DanielGate. Un autre pédophile déjà gracié au Maroc en 2006". Lakome. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Ignacio Cembrero (6 August 2013). "La verdadera historia de un indulto que casi provoca una crisis con Marruecos". El Pais. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "DanielGate : El Himma en première ligne". Lakome. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d "DanielGate. Pourquoi la thèse du cabinet royal ne tient plus". Lakome. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Maroc: Grâce royale au profit de 24.865 détenus". Biladi.ma. 30 July 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "L'injuste quotidien de la population carcérale". Les Eco. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Mohamed Boudarham (21 November 2005). "Grâce pour les détenus étrangers". Aujourd'hui le Maroc. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "48 détenus espagnols graciés". Aujourd'hui le Maroc. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c "Avocat du pédophile espagnol : "la grâce royale ne se discute pas"". Lakome. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  14. ^ "Kénitra : condamné à 30 ans de prison, un pédophile espagnol est gracié". Lakome. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Ignacio Cembrero (3 August 2013). "Mohamed VI asegura que desconocía los crímenes del pederasta español indultado". El Pais. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  16. ^ Elise Vincent (9 August 2013). "Ces Marocains qui ont manifesté contre le roi pour la "première fois"". Le Monde. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Outrage in Morocco after Spanish paedophile gets royal pardon". Al Arabiya. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Sit-in ce soir à Rabat pour dénoncer la grâce royale du pédophile de Kénitra". Lakome. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c "Thousands dispersed at Moroccan anti-paedophile demo". The Sun Daily. 3 August 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "SM le Roi reçoit les parents et les membres des familles des enfants victimes du criminel Daniel Galvan Fina". MAP. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  21. ^ "القضاء الإسباني يرفض تسليم مغتصب الاطفال غالفان إلى المغرب ويأمر في المقابل بقضاء باقي العقوبة بالسجون الإسبانية". Alifpost. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c "Maroc : une grâce accordée à un Espagnol condamné pour pédophilie fait scandale". TF1. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Christophe Guguen (8 August 2013). "Twitter : les robots de Sa Majesté". Lakome. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Kénitra/pédophile gracié : les réactions officielles espagnoles (Alif Post)". Lakome. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Ramid, la grâce du pédophile et "l'intérêt national"". Lakome. 2 August 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c Rime El Jadidi (5 August 2013). "La grâce royale décryptée". Le Soir Echos. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  27. ^ Aziz El Yaakoubi (2 August 2013). "Moroccan police break up protest against royal pardon of Spanish pedophile". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Rida Benotmane (3 August 2013). ""Touche pas à mon enfant" et la langue de bois". Lakome. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  29. ^ a b c d e "Dahir n° 1-57-387 du 16 rejeb 1377 (6 février 1958) relatif aux grâces.". Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "Installation de M.Mustapha Fares Premier président de la cour suprême". MAP. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  31. ^ a b "La Cour suprême déterminée à honorer ses engagements (Procureur général du Roi près la Cour Suprême)". Albayane. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "Nouveau procureur à la Cour suprême". L'Economiste. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  33. ^ "La Revue de Presse : Benhachem reconnaît la faute de son administration et la pertinence de sa révocation". Lakome (in French) (Morocco). Archived from the original on 25 August 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "DanielGate. Un détenu espagnol gracié 48h avant le début de son procès !". Lakome. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  35. ^ a b "Sometimes a Link Is Just a Link: Free Ali Anouzla!", Jillian C. York, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 17 October 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  36. ^ "PÉDOPHILIE. Maroc: Mohammed VI la honte marocaine, jette l’opprobre sur son peuple". 4 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.