Belgium grants right to die to convicted rapist-killer

In a first, the Belgian justice ministry Tuesday granted a convicted rapist and murderer the right to die.

Brussels: In a first, the Belgian justice ministry Tuesday granted a convicted rapist and murderer the right to die.

The lawyer for Frank van den Bleeken, who has been in prison for almost three decades, argued that his client should be allowed the option of euthanasia. Jos Vander Velpen argued that his client was "suffering unbearably" in jail, Xinhua reported.

The convict was still unable to "control his violent sexual urges", media reports said Frank van den Bleeken is to be transferred to hospital in Bruges, where doctors will end his life, an official statement said.

Belgium has allowed euthanasia since 2002 in cases where physical or psychological suffering is ruled to be extreme. Each case must be separately assessed by three doctors before any ruling is taken.

He is the first prison inmate to be granted the right to die.