Frank Van den Bleeken, currently serving a prison sentence, has been on hunger strike for the past two weeks at the Federal Centre for Forensic Psychiatry in Ghent. He is only drinking soft drinks, his lawyer said on Thursday, confirming a report by VRT. According to VRT, the hunger strike is a plea for help aimed at making sure the Minister of Justice Koen Geens (CD & V) will not forget about Frank Van den Bleeken. Frank Van den Bleeken ultimately was not euthanised in early January as planned as the doctor responsible retracted. The prisoner was then transferred to this new institution in Ghent with the promise that he would soon be sent to a specialist facility in the Netherlands.
“Three and half months later and nothing has been done,” said lawyer Jos Vander Velpen, highlighting that his client never agreed to being transferred to Ghent. He still wants to be euthanised but has said he is willing to be sent to a specialist facility. The Netherlands is the last resort” insists the lawyer, also lamenting the fact that during his stay in Ghent, Frank Van den Bleeken has not been allowed to meet the doctors who defended his euthanasia wishes.
It was revealed in late January that Koen Geens had met the prisoner in jail to convince him to withdraw his request for euthanasia. According to the Le Soir newspaper, this is the first time a minister has ever had a conversation like this with an inmate in a penal institution.