Notorious Belgian child serial killer Marc Dutroux appeared Monday before a special court seeking to be released and placed under house arrest with an electronic tag.
His appeal for early release comes just three months before he completes 16 years of his life sentence for the kidnap and rape of six girls, and the murder of four of his victims, in one of the darkest episodes in Belgium's criminal history.
The 56-year-old appeared behind closed doors with the Brussels court house sealed off by 125 police and security officers, with all other cases wiped from the statute books for the day and journalists blocked from view. Security confirmed to AFP his passage before the bench.
A handful of protesters outside demanded Dutroux be hanged, chanting "the rope for paedophiles."
A decision on Dutroux's request is not expected before February 18. Even if it were granted, it would not be implemented before April 30.