Moroccans outraged by a royal pardon for a Spanish paedophile serving a 30-year sentence for raping 11 children in the North African kingdom are planning a protest in Rabat on Friday.
The convicted paedophile is among 48 jailed Spaniards who were pardoned by King Mohamed VI on Tuesday at the request of Spain's King Juan Carlos, who visited Morocco last month, according to state news agency MAP.
The decision prompted a frenzy of angry postings on social media in Morocco. Activists from the February 20 movement, which organised anti-government demonstrations during the Arab unrest of 2011, has called for Friday's rally in the Moroccan capital.
King's deal: The convicted paedophile is among 48 jailed Spaniards who were pardoned by King Mohamed VI, right, on Tuesday at the request of Spain's King Juan Carlos, left, who visited Morocco last month
Hamid Krayri, a lawyer for families of the victims, named the paedophile as Daniel Fino Galvan and said he had been convicted 18 months ago by criminal courts in Kenitra, near Rabat, of raping and filming children aged between 4 and 15.
'He is a retired Spaniard who owns two flats here in Kenitra,' Krayri, who is a member of Morocco's Human Rights Association, told Reuters. He said he had filed a complaint against Galvan three years ago when activists had shown him video discs containing footage of the Spaniard and his victims.
Outraged Moroccans are expected to protest in Rabat, the kingdom's capital, tomorrow
Galvan's lawyer, Mohamed Benjeddo, said his client had been freed on Wednesday and planned to leave for Spain the next day. The Spanish embassy declined to confirm Galvan's release.
The palace and the government made no immediate comment.
The king, like other Middle Eastern rulers, often pardons prisoners on special occasions, such as Throne Day on July 30, but the decision to release the Spaniards at the request of the monarch of a former colonial power has riled many in Morocco.
'Is this Morocco's way to reach the long-sought target of 10 million tourists a year?' asked blogger Nouhad Fathi in a sarcastic post on her Facebook wall.