Thursday, June 29, 2006

Death is too good for some people

Our friends at The Brussels Journal tell this sad story. I offer it here without comment:

The front page of all Belgian newspapers today had the pictures of two little girls. “Murdered” the captions said. Nathalie Mahy (10) and Stacy Lemmens (7) disappeared on 9 June. Their bodies were discovered yesterday. Exactly ten years ago, before Stacy and Nathalie were born, the Belgian papers also brought pictures of murdered girls. Their names were Melissa Russo (8) and Julie Lejeune (8), victims of the notorious pedophile Marc Dutroux.

Stacy and Nathalie were abducted in Liège, the largest city of Wallonia, the Socialist-dominated French-speaking part of Belgium. Melissa and Julie were from the same city, often referred to as “Palermo on the Meuse.” According to Urban Audit Liège has the highest crime rate of all European cities (EU27), with 256.13 recorded crimes per 1,000 population in 2001.

Two weeks ago the police arrested 38-year old Abdallah Aït Oud, a Belgian of Moroccan origin. He was seen near the little girls prior to their disappearance. Aït Oud denies having murdered Stacy and Nathalie. Though the police has not been able to prove otherwise, he is a major suspect. He has already been arrested twice for pedophilia, once in 1994 and once in 2001, and he has no alibi for the night and the day after the disappearance of the girls, who are stepsisters.

In 1994 Abdallah Aït Oud was convicted to five years imprisonment for the rape of his 14-year old niece. He had regularly abused his sister’s daughter since she was six. Three years later, however, in 1997, when the Belgians were still recovering from Dutroux’ atrocities, the Belgian authorities, though they had promised the citizens that pedophiles would have to serve their sentences, released Aït Oud from prison prematurely. On 7 September 1997 he was arrested for theft and sent back to prison, where he remained until 2000. In March 2001, shortly after his release, he abducted and violently raped a 14-year old girl.

This time the negligent Belgian authorities decided not even to give the pedophile a prison sentence. Instead they sent him to a mental hospital. Last December Aït Oud’s doctors decided that he was cured and let him go. He went to live in Stacy’s and Nathalie’s street in Liège. The authorities did not notify the neighbours that a man with a dangerous pedophilia record had moved into their street. Disclosing such information is illegal in Belgium, where the state cares more about protecting the privacy of criminals than about protecting the innocent children of law-abiding citizens.

If Aït Oud proves to be the rapist and murderer of Stacy and Nathalie, this case eerily resembles that of Marc Dutroux. He, too, was a convicted pedophile when he abducted and murdered four children and girls in 1995. He, too, had been released prematurely from prison for good conduct. When Dutroux was arrested (by chance!) in 1996, the police found four corpses in his garden but also freed two abducted children whom he kept locked up in his cellar.

There is great indignation in Belgium. If Abdallah Aït Oud proves to be the murderer of Stacy and Nathalie there might be an explosion of popular anger. If he is not the culprit the trauma among the public may be even worse, as this would mean that another pedophile psychopath is on the loose again.

Go read the rest.