Marc Dutroux, a Belgian paedophile and murderer serving a life sentence, is to undergo a new psychological assessment that could ultimately lead to his early release, following a ruling on Monday by a Brussels court.
Dutroux was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004 for kidnapping six girls in the 1990s, raping them and confining them to a dungeon-like cellar. Four of them died.
The court granted a request by Dutroux's lawyers for five psychologists to evaluate the now 62-year-old and assess his condition as well as his likelihood of repeat offending, the Belga news agency reported.
The new assessment is due by mid-May.
In Belgium, a life sentence usually amounts to around 30 years. Since 2017, Dutroux's lawyer Bruno Dayez has been working on his client's release. He wrote a book last year arguing why he should be freed.
Repeat offenders can only be released once they have completed at least two thirds of their sentence and pose no more risk to society, among other factors. In 2013, a Belgian court rejected a request for Dutroux to serve the rest of his sentence under house arrest with an ankle bracelet, arguing that he had no chance of reintegrating into society. An accomplice of his was recently set free, however, under certain conditions.
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