Belgian court rules pedophile's ex-wife can go free

Aug 28, 2012, 10:45 AM EDT
Protesters hold a sign that reads in French : "Lets hang the pedophiles" in front of the Palace of Justice in Brussels, Tuesday August 28, 2012.
AP Photo/Thierry Charlier

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium's highest court on Tuesday granted conditional early release to one of the nation's most despised criminals, the accomplice and former wife of a pedophile and child killer, even though she let two of his victims starve to death.

The Court of Cassation ruled that no procedural errors were made by a lower court to allow Michelle Martin to live in a convent after serving barely half of her 30-year sentence for her part in the mid-1990s kidnappings, rapes and killings by her then-husband, Marc Dutroux.

"The court rejects the appeals," a statement said after the panel assessed ones filed by the prosecutor's offices and some of the families of the victims.

It was unclear when Martin would be traveling to southern Malonne, where she will live in a Clarisse convent and, in the words of her lawyer, seek atonement for her crimes.