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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Belgium's Dutroux 'lodges appeal'
Marc Dutroux
Dutroux was sentenced on Tuesday after being convicted last week
Convicted child killer Marc Dutroux has lodged an appeal against his life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of young girls, his lawyer said.

"Marc Dutroux signed the appeal order at the prison in Arlon," Xavier Magnee told the French news agency, AFP.

A court in Arlon sentenced the Belgian paedophile on Tuesday.

Dutroux was found guilty last week of leading a gang that kidnapped and raped six girls in the mid-1990s, leading to the deaths of four of them.

The court sentenced his ex-wife Michelle Martin to 30 years in prison for kidnapping and rape.

Co-accused Michel Lelievre got 25 years for kidnapping and drug-dealing. Michel Nihoul was jailed for five years for drug-dealing and fraud.

Marc Dutroux, 47, unemployed electrician: Guilty of kidnap, rape, murder
Michelle Martin, 44, Dutroux's ex-wife: Guilty of conspiracy to kidnap
Michel Nihoul, 62, businessman: Acquitted of kidnapping
Michel Lelievre, 32: Guilty of kidnapping

Under Belgian law, sentencing was decided by the 12 jurors and the panel of three judges together.

At the time of sentencing, the Associated Press reported that no appeal against a jury verdict would be possible, except on procedural grounds.

In that case, the supreme court would review the verdict, the agency said.

'Biggest losers'

The case has been dubbed Belgium's trial of the century.

The bodies of An Marchal, 17, and Eefje Lambrecks, 19, were found in 1996 in the garden of a house in the suburbs of the city of Charleroi owned by Dutroux. Post-mortem reports showed they had been raped and beaten before being drugged and buried alive.

The discovery came shortly after the bodies of two eight-year-olds, Melissa Russo and Julie Lejeune, were found in the garden of another property belonging to Dutroux. They had been repeatedly raped before dying of starvation, post-mortem reports showed.

One surviving victim who gave evidence at the trial was Sabine Dardenne, who was kept in a purpose-built dungeon in Dutroux's basement for 80 days and repeatedly raped before being rescued by police in 1996.

She was said to be "delighted" by the sentencing.

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