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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Doctors cleared in euthanasia case

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Brussels”•A Belgian jury on Friday cleared three doctors accused of murder in a euthanasia case in a landmark trial in a country that legalized assisted dying nearly two decades ago.

The prosecution said the doctors had not respected the conditions for euthanasia in the case of Tine Nys, a 38-year-old Belgian woman who asserted her right to die in 2010 because of severe mental suffering.

The Belga news agency reported that the jury at the court in the northwestern city of Ghent acquitted the doctors of poisoning Nys, prompting members of the public present to burst into sustained applause, drawing a rebuke from the judge.

The accused are the doctor who gave Nys the lethal drip as well as a general practitioner and a psychiatrist whose green light was needed for the assisted suicide.

The case follows the complaints of two of Nys’s sisters who deplored what they said was a hasty decision and who accused the suspects of “poisoning” their sister. 

Since Belgium decriminalized euthanasia in 2002, doctors have faced legal proceedings before, but so far the investigations have always led to dismissals.

In Belgium, euthanasia is authorized for patients suffering an incurable disease who have made their request “voluntarily, thoughtfully and repeatedly.”

This right, for adults, was extended in 2014 to minors, also within a very strict legal framework.

According to her sisters, not all treatments were tried for Nys following her diagnosis for autism two months before her death. AFP

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