September 15, 2014 11:51 PM EDT

In a groundbreaking ruling, a man who is serving a life sentence in Belgium is to be allowed to have doctors end his life, the BBC reports.

Fifty-year-old Frank Van Den Bleeken was convicted in the 1980s for rape and murder. His lawyers say he has not been able to get over his violent sexual impulses.

Belgium introduced an assisted-dying law in 2002, but the ruling is the first time involving a prisoner.

Van Den Bleeken says he cannot control his sexual urges, which have caused him “unbearable psychological anguish,” and argued because of this he had no prospect of release, says the BBC.

Van Den Bleeken first requested to be euthanized in 2011, but his plea was rejected by Belgium’s Federal Euthanasia Commission.

For the past three years he has been fighting the courts to allow doctors to end his life.

Van Den Bleeken will be taken to a hospital where doctors will perform the procedure, but it is not clear when it will be conducted.

[BBC]

Write to Helen Regan at helen.regan@timeasia.com.

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