Rapist murderer is granted death wish despite EU ban
A rapist and murderer is to be put to death in Belgium this week, despite an EU ban on the death penalty, after a court granted him the right to euthanasia.
Frank Van Den Bleeken (52) is not physically ill, but claims his "psychological suffering" is unbearable and that he would prefer to die than spend more of his life behind bars.
He says he has no prospect of being released as he cannot overcome his uncontrollable sexual impulses, and that he does not wish another two or three decades in jail.
His application to die was accepted by Belgium's Federal Euthanasia Commission in September, and over the weekend, he was given approval to be taken to a specialist clinic next Sunday, where he will be killed by lethal injection.
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, and is one of only three countries to allow the practice, the others being the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
But Belgium has seen a fast growth in euthanasia. It can now be used in cases of intense pain and psychological distress.
Van Den Bleeken raped Christiane Remacle, a 19-year-old, as she came home from a New Year's Eve party on January 1, 1989, and then strangled her. He was deemed insane and not criminally responsible.
After seven years on a prison psychiatric ward, he was released, attacking three more victims, aged 11, 17, and 29.
He was then ordered to be detained indefinitely.