Speed Reads

right to die

Belgian inmate receives permission to be euthanized

Belgium has ruled that Frank Van Den Bleeken, convicted of rape and murder in the 1980s, can have doctors end his life.

Belgium enacted its assisted dying law 12 years ago, the BBC reports, and this is the first time a prisoner has requested euthanasia. Like other European nations, Belgium doesn't practice capital punishment. The 50-year-old man's quest started in 2011, when he said he had "unbearable psychological anguish," and wanted to die. His request was finally approved by the country's Federal Euthanasia Commission, and Van Den Bleeken will soon be moved to a hospital where the procedure will take place.

The number of euthanasia cases in Belgium goes up each year, but most of the people are elderly or suffer from a terminal illness.