The father of an Italian woman who was at the centre of a right-to-die debate is being investigated for murder, authorities said Friday.
Eluana Englaro, who had been in a vegetative state for 17 years, died Feb. 9 in a clinic in the city of Udine after doctors removed her feeding tubes. She was 38.
Police said Friday Englaro is one of 14 people under investigation in response to a suit brought by an anti-euthanasia group called the Truth and Life Committee.
Late last year, 67-year-old Beppino Englaro, won an intense 10-year legal battle to allow his daughter's feeding tubes to be removed, saying that was her wish. The court accepted that before the accident, his daughter had expressed a preference for dying over being kept alive artificially.
Police said charges would not necessarily be brought. The chief prosecutor in the case said that under Italian law, the death must be investigated further in response to the suit, even if there is no evidence of wrongdoing.
Initial autopsy results revealed no signs of foul play. A full toxicology report is due April 1.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that others who are being investigated are the head of the woman's medical team and a group of volunteers who helped her find a clinic and look after her in her final days.
A lawyer representing the Englaro family told ANSA that the probe was expected, and said that the proceedings would help clear the air.
The case had deeply divided Italy, with anti-euthanasia groups and politicians repeatedly clashing with those in the right-to-die movement.
Italy does not allow euthanasia. Patients do have a right to refuse treatment, but they are barred from giving advance directions on what treatment they wish to receive if they become unconscious.