The Human Rights League (HRL) criticizes Belgium’s silence on several Euthanasia requests from prisoners. On Sunday, Frank Van Den Bleeken, who has been in prison for more than 25 years for sex crimes, is expected to be euthanized in Bruges prison. His euthanasia request was followed be fifteen similar requests by other prisoners, all referring to feeling the same despair, said the organization. The Human Rights League said that Frank Van Den Bleeken had launched a procedure to get a place in a specialized center in the Netherlands, and only plans to go through with euthanasia if he doesn’t get it. “The case has been settled by a deal between the prisoner and the Justice Minister, who has agreed that the prisoner can be transferred to a hospital to be euthanized”, says the organization.
If the Human Rights League does not disprove the right to euthanasia, it will consider that Frank Van Den Bleeken’s request is “the direct result of Belgium’s failings to care for people suffering from mental illness”. “By cutting investment in infrastructures to care for prisoners, Belgium could be seen as promoting a sort of disguised death penalty”, says the organization.
The HRL also says that Belgium has been condemned several times by the European Court of Human Rights due to the state of its social defense infrastructure in the penal sector. “It is constantly delaying a structural response, which is more than urgently needed, and not remedying its failings. This means that Belgium is not fulfilling its obligations to respect fundamental human rights every single day”, concludes the Human Rights League.