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Ouster of Belgium Coalition Sought After Prisoner's Escape

April 25, 1998| Associated Press

BRUSSELS — The short-lived escape of a child-murder suspect sent waves of anger, disbelief and shame across Belgium and led to calls Friday for the country's shaky government coalition to resign.

The resignations Thursday of the Justice and Interior ministers did little to calm public outrage over the three-hour escape of Marc Dutroux, a convicted rapist charged with abducting and abusing six young girls and killing four of them.

Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene was under pressure to explain how and why the country's most notorious prisoner was able to overpower his escort, steal a police revolver and walk out of a lightly guarded courtroom Thursday.

Opposition parties and the public want more senior officials to resign, and Dehaene's center-left administration faces a no-confidence vote in Parliament Tuesday.

Dehaene's government, Belgian police and judicial authorities have come under fire over their handling of a series of kidnappings and child murders linked to Dutroux.

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