Belgium court clears euthanasia doctors

A Belgian court has acquitted three doctors accused of unlawfully poisoning a woman whose life they ended by lethal injection.

Tine Nys died in April 2010 but her sisters say she was not experiencing “constant and unbearable suffering” resulting from a “serious and incurable disorder” – as Belgian euthanasia law requires.

The case was the first to come to court since euthanasia was introduced in 2002.


Sophie and Lotte Nys say their sister Tine was suffering after a broken relationship and that the doctors involved were callous in their methods.

They told a TV station that the doctor, “asked our father to hold the needle in her arm because he had forgotten to bring plasters”.

“When she had died he asked our parents if they wanted to listen through the stethoscope to check her heart had actually stopped beating.”

The medics were cleared by the jury in less than nine hours of deliberation.

Slippery slope

Francisco José Contreras, a lecturer in legal philosophy at the University of Seville, argued that the result of legalising euthanasia is people being pressured to die.

He said that on ethical issues like euthanasia and assisted suicide “the slippery slope is confirmed time and again”.

“the slippery slope is confirmed time and again”.

“Experience shows that, once the principle of inviolability of life is demolished, public opinion and jurisprudential drift lead to an increasingly lax interpretation of legal requirements”, he added.

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