Euthanasia row in Italy13th December 2006
A court case in Rome involving a 60-year-old man with muscular dystrophy who wishes to die has sparked controversy in Italy, where the Catholic church forbids euthanasia and the government has outlawed it.
The case of Piergiorgio Welby is currently being considered by the Civil Court in the capital, and is also being debated in the country's media and online.
Welby is paralysed, confined to bed and fed through a tube. He speaks through a computer that reads his eye-movements.
He has petitioned the country's president, Giorgio Napolitano, to legalise euthanasia so he could then request that his artificial respirator be turned off. He would then want to be given sedatives to ease his pain until he died.
The judge must decide whether Welby is being forcibly administered life-sustaining medical treatment, which is against Italy's constitution. The verdict is expected within the next week.
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