French convent refuses to shelter Dutroux’s ex

A French convent has refused to shelter the ex-wife and accomplice of notorious Belgian paedophile killer Marc Dutroux who recently won early release.

Michelle Martin was last granted release on parole after serving only half of a 30-year sentence, but cannot walk free until conditions laid out by her lawyers are met – one of which was to resettle in a convent across the border.

The 51-year-old, convicted of helping Dutroux hold victims prisoner and of starving two young girls to death, had hoped to transfer into a convent.

But Mons city prosecutor Jean-Paul Lete told AFP that “Martin’s lawyers have informed us that the French convent due to shelter her has refused.”

The prospect of her release triggered an outcry in both Belgium and France.

Dutroux was jailed for life in June 2004 for the kidnap and rape in the 1990s of six young and teenaged girls, four of whom died.

Just weeks ago, another Catholic retreat in France was at the centre of scandal after offering shelter to the former bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, the pivotal figure in a church paedophilia scandal.

The disgraced bishop was sent into exile by the Vatican to undergo spiritual healing in a French monastery but within days went public on television to admit molesting two nephews. He subsequently disappeared from his Loire Valley retreat.


Germany making disputed Nazi war payments to over 2,000 people

Germany is still making payments to more than 2,000 people worldwide under a law that provides for "war victims", including those who collaborated with the World War II Nazi regime.

Germany making disputed Nazi war payments to over 2,000 people
Hitler in the Reichstag on May 4th, 1941. Photo: Deutsches Bundesarchiv/WikiCommons

Official data from the Labour Ministry showed that 2,033 people benefited from such payments in February.

Under the definition of the law, beneficiaries include individuals who suffered health problems from military or related service or internment because of their German citizenship or ethnicity during World War II.

SEE ALSO: Lawmakers call for end of pension payments to Nazi collaborators

Most of the beneficiaries live in Europe, with the highest number in Poland, where 573 are still receiving payments.

Other European countries with significant numbers of beneficiaries include Austria with 101, Slovenia with 184 and Croatia with 71.

In the Americas, 250 beneficiaries live in the US while 121 are in Canada.

Such payments came under scrutiny after Belgian lawmakers demanded that they be withdrawn for a handful of residents there.

Paying pensions for “collaboration in one of the most murderous regimes in history is in contradiction with collective remembrance” and against the values of the European Union, said the lawmakers, in a legislative text adopted on Tuesday.

To qualify for the payment, the individual must be able to prove an injury arising from WWII. He or she must not have been convicted for war crimes.

The law first came into force in 1950. But after it emerged that some former Waffen SS troops were also drawing benefits, an amendment was passed in 1998 blocking individuals who have commited crimes against humanity from receiving it.

Since 2008, however, individual German states which are responsible for making the payments are allowed to withdraw them.