The newspaper headlines reflect the anger and dismay felt by people in Belgium today: The Impossible Release says one, Free In A Month’s Time says another. All fearing the worst: that Michelle Martin, the ex-wife of convicted child rapist and murderer Marc Dutroux will be freed from prison. Soon.
When her husband was jailed for car theft, Martin allowed two of his six girl victims to starve to death in a makeshift dungeon. Knowing they were there. Knowing they were dying. She was handed a 30-year jail term back in 1996. Under Belgian laws criminals can file for early release after serving a third of their term. Martin was cleared yesterday for conditional release.
One woman says: “I am not at all in favour of this. As a mother and a grandmother, certainly not. I think this kind of person should be put in a vault and left inside so we wait until it's all over. That's what many of my friends think too. No one can agree with this. What this woman did is horrible. That's it. That's unforgivable”
The frustrations of a nation have been heard though: the General Prosecutor of Mons immediately launched an appeal procedure to block any attempt at freedom by Martin’s lawyers. People fearing she would be moved to the Clarisse Monastery in Malonne. The process will take another 30 days and while that’s happening, she stays firmly in jail.
Written & Presented by Marverine Cole