Court to hold hearing on liberation request from serial child killer Dutroux

Court to hold hearing on liberation request from serial child killer Dutroux
Marc Dutroux arriving at Neufchâteau's justice palace on 20 april 1998 Credit: © Belga

A hearing concerning a liberation request from Marc Dutroux, a serial child rapist and killer convicted to life in prison, will be held by a Brussels criminal court in October.

In an interview with RTL, Dutroux's lawyer Bruno Dayez said that Brussels' criminal enforcement court (TAP/SURB) would hold the hearing on 17 October.

The hearing will serve to create an expert committee capable of informing the court on the degree of danger posed by Dutroux, who in 2004 was convicted to life in prison for abducting six girls aged between 8 and 19, and holding them in his cellar, where he repeatedly raped and tortured them.

The expert committee will be charged with establishing a detailed psychological profile of Dutroux, including assessing the risk of recidivism, which would allow the court to deliberate "with full knowledge of the facts," RTL reports.

Dutroux was sentenced to life in 2004, a penalty topped off with an additional 10-year sentence known in French as a "mise à disposition," which makes him subject to judiciary surveillance after he has served out his original sentence.

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News of the upcoming hearing comes after a Brussels court on Monday granted early conditional release to Dutroux's accomplice Michel Lelièvre, who confessed to playing an active role in the abduction of the victims.

In a separate interview with RTBF on Tuesday, Lelièvre's lawyer Benjamine Bovy said that the court's decision to liberate her client was made "in the interest of society", since making Lelièvre serve out his full sentence would mean he would not be subject to judicial scrutiny upon release.

"Cases like Lelièvre's are subject to particular scrutiny," she said. "Making him serve out his whole sentence opens the door to no follow-ups upon release. The court made a pragmatic choice."

Questioned about the mental state of Dutroux's, Bovy said that, through the "particular psychological counselling" he's been subject to in prison, he has become "fully aware" that what he did was "abominable."

"He has matured with these sessions and he is now ready to step into the outside world," Bovy added.

Dutroux, who has been incarcerated in a Nivelles prison for 23 years, has been eligible for release since 2013. Under certain conditions, prisoners sentenced to life in Belgium can request parole after serving out 15 years of their sentence.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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