Life and death in solitary confinement

Interview with Jean-Marc Mahy, author of A Man Standing

Luk Vervaet has interviewed former Belgian prisoner Jean-Marc Mahy, author of the play A Man Standing based on his own experience of solitary confinement.

Jean-Marc Mahy spent 19 years in prison, including a long period in solitary confinement. When he entered the isolation block he read: "here you enter as a lion, you'll get out like a lamb." But, he says, he came out as a man standing. He told himself: "if I can do something for other people, I will do it."

Now he says:

"In current times, now that we return to the practice of torture of the Middle Ages but in a modern form, I want "A Man Standing” to become a European message against isolation."

Jean-Marc Mahy went to jail because as a teenager he killed a man in a robbery that went wrong, and then three years later he killed a policeman during a bid to escape from prison.At the end of each performance of his play he tells the audience: "Out of respect for my victims and for those who got involved in my story against their will, I won't come back to salute you."

Read the interview