World

Judge denies paralyzed Italian man’s request to die

An Italian court has ruled against a paralyzed, terminally ill man who wants to be taken off a respirator and allowed to die.

An Italian court has ruled against a paralyzed, terminally ill man who wants to be taken off a respirator and allowed to die.

Piergiorgio Welby, 60, had soughta court order to have the respirator removed and be sedated. But a judge ruled on Saturday that Italian law does not permit his wish to be granted.

The judge added that politicians needed to address a legal vacuum in the country's laws and provide answers to "the loneliness and despair" of terminally ill patients.

After the ruling, dozens of people joined a candlelit vigil in front of Rome's city hall on Saturday night in his support. Supporters also turned out in London and Brussels.

Welby has advanced muscular dystrophy, diagnosed when he was a teenager. He has been confined to bed for years and now can barely move his lips and eyebrows. He communicates using a computer that interprets his eye movements.

Two months ago, he wrote to Italy's president asking to be taken off the respirator that keeps him alive so he can find peace for his "tortured and shattered body."