The ex-wife and accomplice of Belgian child killer Marc Dutroux has been granted parole.
Michelle Martin has served 16 years of a 30-year sentence for helping notorious paedophile and murderer Marc Dutroux, who kidnapped, assaulted and held captive six young women during the 1990s. Four of the victims died.
There is still uncertainty over how involved Martin was in the crimes, according to Georges-Henri Beauthier, the lawyer representing some of the victims’ families.
Referring to the different accounts Martin has given about what happened, Beauthier said: “For 16 years, we don’t know what role she played in this whole appalling thing. She has lied several times. This outcome still does not reveal to us her level of complicity.”
Jean-Denis Lejeune, the father of Julie Lejeune, who starved to death while being held in Dutroux’s basement, called Martin a “danger to society” and criticised Belgian law for allowing her to apply for parole – which Martin had already done four times previously.
Martin, 52, will move to a convent in Malonne Clare, 60 kilometres from Brussels, where she will live under a number of conditions including not contacting victims’ families.
Thierry Moreau the lawyer representing Martin said: “Many people have met her during her detention. Such people have said we have to support her reintegration because she is someone who clearly will make every effort to redeem herself.”
A demonstration against Martin’s parole was held in Brussels on August 19.
Jean-Denis Lejeune is threatening to go to the European Court of Human Rights if the Belgian parole process does not give victims more chances to be heard.
Euronews correspondent in Brussels Audre Tilve said: “The families and surviving victims feel this parole is further proof of the weakness of Belgian courts. Under pressure, the Ministry of Justice has proposed that people convicted shouldn’t be freed from prison until they have served at least two thirds of their sentence.”