Belgian lawyer Bruno Dayez, who now represents the country’s most notorious criminal, Marc Dutroux, has published a short book in which he makes the case for releasing the serial child rapist, kidnapper and murderer. Dutroux has been sentenced to life in prison in 2004.
Dayez wants his client to be released in 2021 at the latest, stating that life imprisonment is worse and more cruel than the death penalty. While the lawyer starts out making sense when he says “a prison sentence is useful only if it ends”, his conclusion that “life imprisonment should not be an option, and everyone deserves a second chance” is bafflingly naive. Especially coming from a man who represents someone who kidnapped and murdered four young girls, kidnapped two more – who were thankfully freed – sadistically raping all of them and filming the abuse (and also murdered an accomplice, but since that person was an accomplice to the aforementioned, I don’t really care about him).
There is only one proper punishment for people like Marc Dutroux, and it is not life imprisonment, it is not temporary imprisonment. It is the death penalty.
Dutroux’s wife, Michelle Martin, was released in August 2012, given a new identiy and housed in a nunnery, even though she was fully aware of her husband’s activities, and had already been sent to prison along with him in 1989 for an earlier rape in which she played a more active role since she had drugged the victim. While Dutroux was in prison again in 1995 and 1996, two of his young victims were still locked in the (unheated) basement of his house. Although Michelle Martin was aware of this, and she came over regularly to feed the dogs, she never brought food to the girls, who died of starvation after months of lonely suffering. But to lawyers like Dayez, a system which sends people like this to prison for just eight years, is still not lenient enough.
When the case of Dutroux came to light, Belgium was in shock – as was the rest of the world. Rumors and clues that individuals in high places (including in the justice system and politics) were involved in Dutroux’s child pornography network still abound.