BRUSSELS — A woman who let two 8-year-old girls starve in a cellar and helped her pedophile husband carry out horrific abuse of other girls went from prison to a convent Tuesday, outraging Belgians who opposed the early release of one of the country’s most despised criminals.
The nation’s highest court approved Michelle Martin’s release after serving 16 years of a 30-year prison term for her role in the mid-1990s kidnappings, rapes, and killings by her then-husband, Marc Dutroux.
Martin, 52, left prison Tuesday for a Clarisse convent in Malonne, a 45-mile trip south of the capital, where her lawyer said she will seek atonement for her crimes. Over 100 people shouted insults at her as she arrived, some trying to break through police barriers.
‘‘There is only one word for this. This is simply absurd. But I will have to accept it,’’ said Paul Marchal, whose daughter An, was one of Dutroux’s victims. ‘‘Concerning Martin, my fight is over and done. I lost.’’
Martin’s lawyer, Thierry Moreau, insisted Tuesday that his client deserved a shot at a better life. ‘‘There is something human remaining in Mrs. Martin, even though she acknowledges herself she is responsible for very serious acts,’’ Moreau said.