clearn.png
Saturday November 28th, 2020 6:36PM

Europe's top rights court to hear Belgian euthanasia case

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Europe's top human rights court has agreed to hear a case being brought against Belgium by a man whose mother was euthanized in 2012 for depression, the second case that implicates one of Belgium's leading euthanasia doctors.

In a statement Tuesday, lawyers for Tom Mortier said they brought their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg after Belgian authorities declined to pursue it.

Robert Clarke, one of Mortier's lawyers, said there were some "deeply worrying" details about the case.

"This was a woman who was under the care of a psychiatrist and according to medical definition was a vulnerable person," Clarke said. "The state had a duty of care to protect her and it failed."

The court said it would now consider whether Belgium had violated two parts of the European Convention on Human Rights in euthanizing Mortier's mother.

Mortier's statement to the court alleges that Belgium failed to protect his mother's life and that there was no thorough or effective investigation into her death.

Mortier's mother, Godelieva De Troyer, 64, had struggled with depression for years. When her own doctor refused to approve her euthanasia request, she sought out other physicians, including Dr. Wim Distelmans, who also co-chairs Belgium's euthanasia review commission.

Mortier argued in his court statement that there was a troubling lack of oversight in the case, pointing out that his mother donated 2,500 euros ($2,860) to an association that Distelmans headed shortly before her euthanasia.

Last November, Belgian officials began investigating whether the psychiatrist who approved De Troyer's euthanasia request, Dr. Lieve Thienpont, was also responsible for the wrongful death of Tine Nys, who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome by Thienpont two months before she was euthanized. In addition to Thienpont, two other doctors are being investigated for "poisoning" Nys in 2010.

Some experts estimate that Thienpont has been involved in about a third of all euthanasia cases for psychiatric reasons in Belgium.

Belgium is one of two countries, along with the Netherlands, where the euthanasia of people for psychiatric reasons is allowed if they can prove they have "unbearable and untreatable" suffering. Among Belgians euthanized for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger's, a mild form of autism.

Many health experts — in Belgium and beyond — dispute whether mental health illnesses should be considered a valid justification for euthanasia.

In the 15 years since doctors were granted the right to legally kill patients in Belgium, more than 10,000 people have been euthanized. Only one case has previously been referred to prosecutors; that case was later dropped.

The European Court of Human Rights has notified Belgium of its decision to consider the case and has sent a list of questions to be answered in writing. A spokeswoman for the court said it was not known yet if the case might warrant a public hearing or when a judgment would be made.

___

This story corrects the woman's age at death to 64.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP World News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Europe's top rights court to hear Belgian euthanasia case
Europe's top human rights court has agreed to hear a case being brought against Belgium by a man whose mother was euthanized in 2012 for depression, the second case that implicates one of Belgium's leading euthanasia doctors
8:09AM ( 4 minutes ago )
German arrested in politician data hack says he acted alone
Authorities say a German student has admitted to obtaining and publishing online hundreds of politicians' and celebrities' data and told investigators that he acted alone
7:48AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Turkey appears to snub US; no assurances on Syrian Kurds
Trump adviser Bolton rebuffed by Turkey as he tries to negotiate safety of Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria
7:20AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kim Jong Un travels to China ahead of possible 2nd US summit
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with China's president at the start of a visit to Beijing believed to be an effort to coordinate with his only major ally ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump
6:07AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump aide Bolton seeks Turkey's assurances on Syrian Kurds
Trump's adviser Bolton seeks assurances from senior Turkish officials that Ankara won't harm Syrian Kurdish allies
6:02AM ( 2 hours ago )
North Korean leader expected to meet China's president
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with China's president at the start of a visit to Beijing believed to be an effort to coordinate with his only major ally ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump
5:36AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Woman sentenced to life as teen in killing wins clemency
Fifteen years after Cyntoia Brown was charged with murder, the woman who says she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim when she killed a man in 2004is no longer under a life sentence
1:09AM ( 7 hours ago )
Trump's shifting timetable on Syria leaves allies scrambling
U.S. allies and other players in the Mideast have been left scrambling by President Donald Trump's shifting timetable for pulling troops out of Syria
1:08AM ( 7 hours ago )
Gov. Newsom points to California exceptionalism, challenges
Gov. Gavin Newsom is declaring California a model for the nation as opposed to what he calls incompetence and corruption in Washington
11:54PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online National News
German arrested in politician data hack says he acted alone
Authorities say a German student has admitted to obtaining and publishing online hundreds of politicians' and celebrities' data and told investigators that he acted alone
7:48AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Turkey appears to snub US; no assurances on Syrian Kurds
Trump adviser Bolton rebuffed by Turkey as he tries to negotiate safety of Kurdish allies in northeastern Syria
7:20AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Global stocks track Wall Street; trade talks caution remains
Global stock markets tracked Wall Street higher Tuesday but investors remained alert for any developments in China-U.S. trade talks in Beijing.
7:11AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Official: Syrian Kurds 'ready to fight Turkey'
The Latest: Syrian Kurdish official says fighters prepared to confront Turkish forces if they enter northeastern Syria
6:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Erdogan holds on to Trump's Syria pullout remark
The Latest: Turkey's Erdogan holds on to Trump's initial remark on US withdrawal from Syria as 'point of reference'
6:42AM ( 1 hour ago )