Belgium’s most notorious killer launched a bid for early release yesterday, despite little chance of getting parole.
Marc Dutroux, who was convicted of the kidnapping and rape of six girls and the murder of four of them in the 1990s, put his case to judges in a closed-door hearing in Brussels.
The case touches a nerve in Belgium because of the horrific nature of the murders, and the fact police visited one of Dutroux’s houses while two victims, both eight years old, were being held there without finding them. The two subsequently starved to death in a makeshift dungeon.
Under Belgian law, criminals can be freed after serving a third of their sentences, or after 15 years in the case of those who have received a life sentence.
However, thousands of protesters called for tougher rules on convicts when Dutroux’s ex-wife was granted conditional freedom last year and moved to a convent. She had to request parole several times before it was granted.
The court will discuss Dutroux’s request with prison officials and issue its judgment on 18 February It is not clear if Dutroux will attend the hearing.