“What’s the point in rotting away? I’d rather be euthanised”

A detainee who has spent the last thirty years in prison has been granted the permission by the Ministry of Justice to be euthanised in a hospital. The man was convicted for sexual assault and murder and did not receive the proper psychiatric treatment. Three years ago, he requested to be euthanised due to his ‘unbearable psychological suffering’.


Thirty years ago, the prisoner was found to be mentally ill and was supposed to undergo specialised treatment in a psychiatric facility. However, as those centres are almost non-existent in Belgium, he ended up in a normal prison.


“I’m a danger to society”, the detainee said in a feature in the VRT programme ‘Panorama’ last year. To him, there were only two feasible solutions: either undergo the treatment or be euthanised on the grounds of ‘unbearable psychological suffering’. Three years ago, he put in a request to be euthanised. “What am I supposed to do? What’s the point in sitting here until the end of time and rotting away? I’d rather be euthanised.”

As this is the first time a prisoner requests to be euthanised in Belgium, a procedural battle ensued. Now, three years later, the Ministry of Justice has finally come to an agreement about the admission to the hospital where he will be euthanised.

“The Ministry of Justice agrees that my client will be transported to a hospital 48 hours prior to the procedure so he can say his farewells to his family in humanly dignified conditions”, according to Frank’s lawyer Jos Van der Velpen. The Court of Appeal is expected to ratify this decision later today.