A Spanish court ruled that a paraplegic man, who was accused of firing on colleagues in a rage before being shot in the spine by police, can avoid trial because he has the right to end his life.
In December, Marin Eugen Sabau, 46, a Romanian security guard, was accused of firing on his former co-workers at a security company in Tarragona in eastern Spain, seriously injuring three people. He shot and injured a police officer before being seriously wounded by police marksmen.
The national court in Tarragona upheld a ruling that, given his condition, Sabau had a right to euthanasia under a law passed last year. The court said that the law had not anticipated a situation in which a person facing criminal charges might request assisted dying.
Euthanasia was a fundamental right with which the judicial system could not interfere, the court said.
Spain's euthanasia law allows adults with serious and incurable conditions to choose to end their lives.
The decision was rejected by lawyers representing the wounded police officer who has appealed to the constitutional court.
Antonio Bitos, the lawyer for the wounded officer, argued that the decision of the national court is erroneous. It hasn't taken into account the victims suffering nor their dignity. Bitos accused the court of squandering the opportunity to rule on a unique case. Sabau was due to be euthanised on 28 July and he will get his wish if the appeal fails.
In a statement released from the prison hospital in July, Sabau said: I am paraplegic. I have 45 stitches in one hand and I can barely move my left arm. I am full of screws and I can't feel my chest. He claimed that his bosses at the Securitas company had made his life a living hell and that he was a victim of exploitation and racism. Before the attack, he sent an email to his superiors that read: I ve got no option, I will take the law into my own hands. Lessons learned with blood aren't easily forgotten. He also claimed that the Mossos d Esquadra, the Catalan police, fired first and without warning, and continued to fire when he was already unconscious.
In its ruling, the court recognized that Sabau caused pain and physical and moral damage to his victims and that there was reason to assume that he would be convicted of crimes.
He said that his condition causes constant physical and psychological suffering without any possibility of relief and he faces the prospect of a very limited life.