Politician's body found in canal prior to standing trial for rape

60-year old Steve Stevaert's bike and coat had been earlier found by the side of the Albert canal

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The body of the late politician who went missing after hours he learnt he was to stand trial for rape has been found in a canal.

60-year old Steve Stevaert's bike and coat had been earlier found by the side of the Albert canal prompting police to comb the canal and eventually finding his body.

The late politician was a former leader of the Flemish Social Democrat party, and also served as mayor of the city of Hasselt and as a provincial governor.

Prior to Stevaert's disappearance and death, the spokeswoman for the Brussels prosecutor had announced that Stevaert was to be prosecuted for rape, indecent assault and abuse of office.

This was based on a complaint filed by the victim in 2013, although the case dated back to 2010 when both Stevaert and the alleged victim were guests on a television show.

While Stevaert had admitted that they had sexual relations, he denied rape.

Meanwhile, Belgian media is reporting that Stevaert killed himself, leaving a farewell letter behind.

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