Belgian rage over paedophile case

2011-05-09 21:19

kalahari.com

  • Child Abuse
    Provides readers with a wealth of information on topics of current interest. Now R526.95
    buy now

Brussels - A Belgian court decided on Monday to order the early release of Michelle Martin, ex-wife of one of Europe's most infamous child killers, Marc Dutroux, triggering immediate fury from victims' families.

In a country already reeling from a Catholic church paedophilia scandal, the release of Martin halfway through her 30-year term - if confirmed by the judiciary - looks set to revive the grisly trauma of the Dutroux child-sex case.

Thrown behind bars in 1996 and later sentenced for her role in the multiple Dutroux murders, 51-year-old Martin was granted conditional release after her fourth attempt to win early freedom by a court in the western city of Mons, RTL-TVI television reported, citing the prosecutor.

The prosecution, which is opposed, has until on Tuesday to appeal the decision to let her walk free, with Martin remaining in jail until the decision falls.

"I take note of the court's decision. We will see whether there are reasons to appeal," said Justice Minister Stefaan de Clerck.

Under Belgian law, convicts can appeal for early release after serving a third of their sentence. A final ruling would rest with the country's highest appeals court.

In a traumatic case still fresh in the minds of Belgians, Dutroux was jailed for life in June 2004 for the kidnapping and rape of six young girls in the mid-1990s, four of whom died.

Hauled before a court the same year, Martin was found guilty of helping Dutroux hold his victims prisoner, and of complicity in the death of two of the small girls, found starved to death in a cellar in the southern city of Charleroi.

Monster

"She's the murderer of my daughter, 15 years seems light," said Jean-Denis Lejeune, daughter of one of the two 8-year-olds found in the cellar - Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo.

"We're allowing a monster out into society."

The family of another victim, Eefje Lambrecks, said in court that they opposed Martin's release because "she never voiced sincere regrets".

The return of the Dutroux case, viewed as one of the first in Europe to put paedophilia squarely in the public eye, comes as the Belgian Catholic church squirms over a child abuse scandal involving more than 500 victims and smearing its hierarchy.

In the latest revelations, the former bishop of Bruges last month admitted molesting two of his nephews for long periods of time.

The Dutroux affair broke in August, 1996, when police arrested the unemployed electrician following the abduction of a 14-year-old girl, Laetitia Delhez, abducted four days earlier.

She was found alive two days later with severely emaciated Sabine Dardenne, 12, in the basement of his house in Marcinelle, on the outskirts of southern Charleroi.

But the case took a gruesome turn in August, 1998 when the bodies of Lejeune and Russo were found buried in the garden of Dutroux's main residence in the southern town of Sars La Buissiere.

Less than a month later, the subsequent bodies of An Marchal and Eefje Lambrecks were found in another property owned by Dutroux.

The public's shock turned to fury when it emerged not only that police had missed a string of clues that could have led to Dutroux being apprehended earlier, and that he had been released from jail in 1992 after serving just three years of a 13-year sentence for the abduction and rape of five girls.

Outrage over the case and suspicions of a wider paedophilia network grew, with more than 300 000 people taking to the street in Brussels in October 1996, in the first of a series of marches to protest judicial incompetence.

Read more on:    belgium  |  child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

No legal challenge to Nkandla report - Mbete

There are no plans to legally challenge Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on Nkandla, ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Century City - 15:10 PM
    Road name: N1 Service Road Outbound
    ACCIDENT between Sable Road and the N7 Interchange - QUEUEING TRAFFIC
  • Thursday Newlands - 14:10 PM
    Road name: M3 Both Ways
    QUEUEING TRAFFIC on Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.