26 May 2004
BRUSSELS – A Belgian televsion station has broadcast excerpts of a letter written by suspected child murderer Marc Dutroux to a journalist.
Commericial station AB3 broadcast the excerpts on Tuesday night.
Experts say the letter was written between 28 April and 5 May.
In it Dutroux answers a number of questions about his trial, the crimes he is accused of and the conditions of his imprisonment in Arlon.
Returning to arguments he has repeatedly used during his ongoing trial in Arlon, Dutroux says he was a small player in a major criminal network that reached deep into the heart of the Belgian establishment.
“Organised crime has infiltrated all of our institutions and all the other organs of power to such a point that no-one dares to denouce the true scale of the problem,” he wrote.
He also said that Michel Nihoul, a Belgian businessman on trial beside him in Arlon, was the brains behind the crimes he stands accused of.
In the letter, the suspected child murderer seemed resigned to the fact that he would probably spend the rest of his life in prison.
“My eventual release is the last of my concerns,” the letter said.
“I am perfectly aware that I must be a scapegoat to protect the shameful interests of criminals within the establishment,” it continued.
Dutroux’s lawyers confirmed in court on Thursday that the letter was genuine.
But they added that their client had sent the letter against their advice.
Later on Thursday one of Dutroux’s lawyers argued that her client had not kidnapped two of his alleged victims, eight-year-olds Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo.
The two girls were found dead at one of Dutroux’s properties.
Dutroux has always denied kidnapping the girls. He says they were delivered to his house by associates.
He also denies killing the the two, who he says died while he was serving a three month prison sentence.
Lawyer Martine Van Praet argued that Dutroux would not have denied the kidnap if he had carried it out because he had admitted to kidnapping other girls.
She also suggested that Nihoul was the brains behind Dutroux’s crimes.
“Nihoul has flair. He is 20 years older than Dutroux. We always speak about Marc Dutroux in this courtroom. But who has control over who? I don’t know. Why not Nihoul over Dutroux, like he had over Lelievre,” she asked, referring a former Dutroux accomplice also on trial in Arlon.
Van Praet’s comments formed part of the final stages of the Dutroux trial.
Other lawyers will present their closing remarks over the next two weeks.
The jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict on 14 June.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news