cases, helping a suffering person with assisted suicide is not criminal,
Italy’s top court said. The ruling means parliament has been asked to debate
the issue, taking into account the court’s ruling.
Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that helping someone in
“intolerable suffering” commit suicide was not always a crime.
“facilitates the suicidal intention… of a patient kept alive by
life-support treatments and suffering from an irreversible pathology”
should not be punished under certain conditions, the court ruled.
patient’s condition must be “causing physical and psychological suffering
that he or she considers intolerable,” the court said.
Issue now on parliament’s agenda
The case centred
on Marco Cappato, a member of Italy’s Radical Party, who drove a paralyzed and
blind man to a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland. Assisted suicide is
legal in Switzerland.
court trying Cappato had asked the Constitutional Court for an opinion on the
case. Helping someone with assisted suicide is currently punishable by
between five and 12 years in prison, but the high court ruling means Cappato is
likely to be acquitted.
belongs to a pro-euthanasia group, praised the ruling in a tweet as a victory
for those in need of life-ending help.
today we are all more free, even those who disagree. It is a victory of civil
disobedience, while the (political) parties turned their heads away,” he
powerful Catholic Church has strongly opposed softening laws on assisted
is now expected to debate the issue, taking into account the court’s ruling.
More than 800 Italians would like to die through assisted suicide, according to Italy’s Coscioni Association.
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