An imprisoned 50-year-old Belgian man, serving a life sentence since the 1980s for rape and murder, will be put to death reported Vice News.com.
Frank Van Den Bleeken's death has been sanctioned by a court in Belgium, where capital punishment has been banned since 1996.
Van Den Bleeken is not being executed — he is being allowed to die. In a landmark case, the inmate was granted the right to a physician-assisted suicide, which means his death will come under the imprimatur of mercy, not punishment. The prisoner's attorneys successfully argued that Van Den Bleeken faced ongoing years of mental anguish with no chance of relief or of release from prison, since both he and his lawyers acknowledge that his violent sexual impulses are uncontrollable.
He will be the first prisoner to be euthanized since Belgium legalized assisted death 12 years ago.
The assisted suicide of a prisoner sits in stark contrast to the American system of execution by lethal injection. Thirty people have been executed in the Untied States so far this year.
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