Expatica news

Anger over possible release of Dutroux’s ex-wife

20 March 2006

BRUSSELS — The father of one of Marc Dutroux’s murder victims has been called to appear in Liège Court on Thursday to give his opinion about the possible early release of Dutroux’s former wife, Michelle Martin.  

New legislation will come into force next week imposing greater restrictions on the parole system. Courts will then be required to determine if a detainee should be released and under what conditions.

“I am shocked that barely two years after the trial in Aarlen that there is already talk of a conditional release,” said Jean-Denis Lejeune, the father of Dutroux victim Julie.

Martin was sentenced to 30 years jail for her role in the Dutroux case. But due to her time spent in pre-trial custody, Martin has served a third of her sentence and therefore comes under consideration for penitentiary leave and later parole.

Currently, the Conditional Release Committee must decide whether prisoners who have served a third of their sentence may be released.

“Next week, the Parliament will vote on a proposal in which the decision will be made by a sentencing court,” Liberal VLD federal MP Martine Taelman said.

The proposal — which dates back to Dutroux’s escape from prison in 1998 — gives victims a say in the possible release of detainees. The ruling is eventually made by a judge and two assessors.

In practical terms, the new law will not affect much change as every prisoner will retain the right to possible release after serving a third of his or her jail term. The process of leading to such a release is automatically in built into the system.

A justice specialist told newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ that as soon as a court has imposed a sentence prisoners are being prepared for their possible return to society.

“Serious offenders know, however, that they don’t stand a chance. It is thus absolutely certain, even within current legislation, that Michelle Martin will not be freed,” the specialist said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news