Belgian murderer to die at own request on January 11: media

Sun Jan 4, 2015 8:59am EST
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian murderer and rapist serving a life sentence is to be allowed to die by lethal injection next Sunday following a ruling under laws in Belgium permitting people to request euthanasia, local media reported.

Frank Van Den Bleeken, who has argued that he had no prospect of release since he cannot overcome his violent sexual impulses, will be granted his wish for medically assisted suicide in a prison in Bruges, Belgium.

He has said he wants to end years of mental anguish.

"Euthanasia will indeed be implemented," a spokeswoman for Belgian justice minister Koen Geens told Belgian daily De Morgen. "The time has come."

The justice ministry was not immediately available for comment but Reuters reported in September that the ministry had given its consent but had yet to set a date.

The judicial ruling was the first involving a prisoner since the euthanasia law was introduced 12 years ago.

Belgium, like the rest of the European Union, does not have a death penalty.

Van Den Bleeken, aged 51 and in prison for nearly 30 years, had complained of a lack of therapy provided for his condition in Belgium and therefore he preferred to die.

Predominantly Roman Catholic Belgium is not the only country in Europe to provide a right to die but it has pioneered the application of the law beyond the terminally ill.   Continued...