5 March 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium’s Justice Minister has ordered an investigation into how a photographer managed to take pictures of suspected child-murderer Marc Dutroux in prison, the Belgian media reported on Friday.
Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx ordered the probe after a Belgian magazine, La Libre Match, published an article on the life in prison of ‘The most hated man in Belgium’.
Onkelinx said the photos were not authorised and she said she hopes the investigation will find out who took the pictures.
“The inquiry is underway. It is making good progress. A certain number of elements have already been clarified but at this stage we cannot rule anything out or name anyone who may have been responsible [for taking the photos],” Onkelinx’s spokeswoman Saar Vanderplaetsen said.
“Once we have found out who is responsible, we will consider whether we will have to take disciplinary action,” she added.
Dutroux is currently being held in custody in the Belgian city of Arlon, where he is being tried for allegedly kidnapping and raping six girls, killing four of them and also killing one of his former accomplices.
The disputed photos showed Dutroux during a normal day in prison and included pictures of him buying a cup of coffee from a vending machine in a prison corridor.
The editor of La Libre Match has refused to reveal the name of the photographer, saying it is his duty as a journalist to protect his sources.
The row over the prison pictures marks the second time this week that photographers and the Belgian authorities have clashed over the Dutroux case.
On Thursday the Judge presiding over the Dutroux trail, Stephane Goux, withdrew official accreditation from several photographers covering the trial after the newspapers they work for published pictures of the suspected child killer without printing a black bar over his eyes.
Dutroux has asked not to be photographed during his trial and Goux is legally obliged to ensure his wish is respected.
The Arlon court where Dutroux is being judged was not sitting on Friday, giving Belgians the chance to reflect on the first week of a trial that has forced their small country into the global media spotlight.
When Dutroux took the stand earlier this week he sought to portray himself as a victim who was just a pawn in a major criminal network. He also insisted that while he had kidnapped and raped some of the girls cited in the trial, he killed no one.
But his version of events was vehemently denied both by his ex-wife and by an investigating magistrate who worked on the Dutroux case.
Both described Dutroux as a terrifying, intelligent and manipulative man who kidnapped and raped six girls and murdered two of them.
The trial continues.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news