Should Marc Dutroux be set free?

Marc Dutroux was condemned to life imprisonment in 2004, convicted of having raped, kidnapped and murdered of young girls. The trial was covered by media from across the World and Mr Dutroux became quickly famous.

Last Thursday, Bruno Dayez, the lawyer who defends Marc Dutroux, has delivered a mediatised speech on RTBF. He asked for Mr Dutroux to be released and announced that he will launch a campaign and meet the civil society to make that happen. This judiciary fight can get critics from many people and organisations, but it could be worth having a debate about the concept of prisons and life-long sentences.

Mr Dayez picked a very tricky time to make that announcement, as the last days have been influenced by the spread of the hashtags #metoo or #balancetonporc, through which many women have taken the floor to denounce sexual harassment, following the scandal involving Harvey Weinstein.

What is Mr Dayez exactly looking for? The lawyer aims to meet with representatives from the civil society and with several citizens to raise the issue: “Prison does not aim to become a place of death, and it is abnormal to imagine someone who dies of fatigue in prison”, he told on RTBF. The debate has been present for years, as the death penalty used to be applied until a couple of decades ago -generating arguments and controversies-, and as the more recent  populist parties have raised the issue of security all over Europe. Mr Dayez’s fight seems quite hard to win.

Nonetheless, he is committed to convince both politicians and citizens that 25 years of prison should be the maximum sentence someone can be condemned to. To make the debate as inclusive as possible, the lawyer aims to meet with future adults, and to hold “a rational debate” in some universities to try to convince the Belgian students, although he has not given any detail about the form of the events that could be set up.

Although he has this precise goal in mind, Mr Dayez knows the procedure is going to take time and doesn’t hope to set Marc Dutroux free in the coming weeks.

What do you think, YES or NO?