Italy’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled it was not always a crime to help someone in “intolerable suffering” commit suicide, opening the way for a change of law in the Catholic country.
Parliament is now expected to debate the matter, which was highlighted by the Milan trial of an activist who helped a tetraplegic man die in Switzerland.
Anyone who “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 top court ruled.
The court was asked to weigh in on the case of Fabiano Antoniani, known as DJ Fabo, a music producer, traveller and motocross driver left tetraplegic and blind by a 2014 traffic accident.
Marco Cappato, a member of Italy’s Radical Party, drove Antoniani to Switzerland in February 2017 where he was helped to die, aged 40.
Helping or instigating someone’s suicide is currently punishable by between five and 12 years in prison in Italy.