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Moroccan king sacks prisons chief over pedophile pardon scandal

Published: Updated:

Moroccan King Mohammad VI has sacked the kingdom’s prisons chief following a scandal involving the pardoning of a convicted Spanish pedophile, the royal court said in a statement on Monday.

Hafeez Benhashem was sacked after “advanced investigation” revealed that the prisons directorate “has mistakenly provided inaccurate information about the criminal records of Daniel Galvan, included in a list of 48 Spanish prisoners,” the royal court said in a statement, the third of its kind in less than two days.

The investigation found “shortcomings” in the performance of the prisons and rehabilitation’s general directorate, the statement added.

The investigation committee was headed by Moroccan Interior Minister Mohand Laenser and the public prosecutor of the high court of cassation, the highest judiciary authority in Morocco.

The royal court held the prisons’ directorate, which reports to the Moroccan prime minister, responsible for the “mistake” that led to king granting pardon to convicted pedophile Daniel Galvan.

The news of the royal pardon sent shockwaves across Morocco. Dozens of people protested in several cities, while internet groups called for mass rallies against the move taken by the monarch.

The king, moving swiftly to contain the public outrage, withdrew his pardon on Saturday and ordered the investigation into the case.

In its latest statements, the royal court reaffirmed the king’s “strong commitment to protecting children and his full respect to the rule of law in the kingdom.”

On Monday, Spanish police arrested the convicted pedophile, a source at Spain’s Interior Ministry said, according to Reuters.
Quoting a judicial source, Reuters reported that Galvan would appear at Spain’s top courts, the Audencia Nacional, early on Tuesday. The judge will then decide if Galvan will go to prison in Spain, according to the source.

Morocco’s Interior Ministry confirmed in a statement that Galvan had been arrested in Murcia after the North African kingdom issued an international arrest warrant against him.