Belgium hopes France will take paroled child killer
Belgium's justice minister on Thursday said he had transferred convicted child killer Michelle Martin's case files to France and hoped Paris would finally agree to allow her into a convent there upon early release from jail.
Stefaan De Clerck told Bel-RTL radio he had contacted French counterpart Michel Mercier on Thursday "to transfer the dossier to him."
Referring to Mercier's public reluctance to allow Martin to settle in France, the Belgian minister said he had "taken a stand without having taken receipt of the case files... so I asked him to study them."
Mercier said Wednesday he had no intention of granting permission, later underlining: "I will reply 'no' to be crystal clear," in anticipation of the formal request by De Clerck under a European convention.
Mercier argued that Belgium itself had rejected cross-border parole transfers on four occasions.
De Clerck acknowledged on Wednesday that Paris is "under no obligation" to take Martin despite a 1964 treaty framing cooperation in cases where one state releases a national into the supervision of another.
Just weeks ago, France got its fingers burnt when the disgraced bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, the pivotal figure in a Catholic Church paedophilia scandal, followed Vatican orders to undergo spiritual reflection in a French monastery.
Within days, Vangheluwe admitted on TV molesting two nephews and was hastily removed from his wine-rich Loire Valley retreat.
Martin this week won a plea for early release after serving half of a 30-year sentence as the accomplice of infamous paedophile killer Marc Dutroux.
Dutroux was jailed for life in June 2004 for the kidnap and rape in the 1990s of six young and teenaged girls, four of whom died.
Martin was convicted of helping him hold his victims prisoner, and of complicity in the deaths of two of the girls, who were found starved to death in a locked cellar.
She had previously served two years of a five-year sentence for an earlier conviction with Dutroux for the abduction and rape of another five girls.
© 2011 AFP