The Spanish deputy prime minister, Pablo Iglesias announced today that Madrid resident, the British born pianist and child abuse activist, James Rhodes has been granted Spanish citizenship.
Iglesias tweeted that Rhodes is a “symbol of the new Spain.” The prime minister, Pedro Sanchez also tweeted his congratulations.
The classical pianist tweeted his delight saying that “he was in the clouds” and saying that he will “make an effort every day to give back to this wonderful country what it has given to me”.
London born Rhodes, has spoken publicly as well as campaigned against the sexual abuse of children after suffering himself as a child.
He is credited with the government´s own legislation on childrens rights which was labelled “Rhodes Law” by Pablo Iglesias, when it was introduced earlier this year.
The law aims to protect children and be”a global point of reference for the protection of childhood and adolescence and should become one of the elements that defines the actions of this government.” said Iglesias.
Rhodes´s own account of the abuse he suffered as a child is recounted in his autobiographical book ” Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music”.
The book, whose publication Mr Rhodes had to fight an injunction for; eventually winning the right to, after an appeal decision by the UK´s Supreme Court is “a brutally honest, moving and compelling story,” has become an international bestseller.
The court ruled that apart from being in the public interest, “a person who has suffered in the way that the appellant has suffered, and has struggled to cope with the consequences of his suffering in the way that he has struggled, has the right to tell the world about it.”
Since coming to Spain, Rhodes has headlined music festivals throughout Spain, including Sonar by Day (Barcelona), Festival de Verano de San Lorenzo (El Escorial Madrid) and Veranos de la Villa (Madrid) as well as performing his own sellout concerts including at Madrid’s Teatro Real.
The granting of Spanish nationality is usually a longer bureaucratic process and available for those foreign residents who have lived in Spain for at least 5 years.
In the case of Rhodes, who has lived in Madrid since 2017, citizenship was awarded by a government approved Royal Decree known as the “carta de naturaleza”.
According to the Ministry of Justice figures only 117 such cartas have been issued in 2020.