A Belgian man serving a life sentence for rape and murder after a landmark ruling will be allowed to have doctors end his life. Frank Ven Den Bleeken who is 50 argued he would never be freed because he was unable to control his violent sexual urges.
He first requested euthanasia in 2011 citing “Unbearable psychological anguish”, but Belgian federal euthanasia commission wanted to consider every possible treatment option before consenting to such a measure. The decision follows a three year legal battle by the prisoner who was convicted in the 1980s and the ruling is the first involving a prisoner since the assisted dying law was introduced in Belgium 12 years ago.
Frank’s lawyer Jos Vanderbilt Velpen told reporters he will soon be transferred to a hospital where the medical procedure will take place, but he cannot say when or where that will happen. BBC’s Piers Scholfield reported that Belgium had been criticized several times by the European courts of human rights for its failure to properly treat mentally ill prisoners.