A Spanish television station has come under fire for broadcasting video images of a euthanasia advocate killing himself.
Relatives of the dead man, Ramon Sampedro, joined Roman Catholic Church representatives and euthanasia campaigners in criticizing Antena 3 for showing excerpts of a video in which a bedridden Sampedro sucks cyanide through a straw, the daily El Mundo reported.Paralyzed in an accident 29 years ago, Sampedro, 55, was the first Spaniard to demand the legal right to die. He had previously announced that he planned to film his suicide, carried out Jan. 13.
"Next to me, I've got a glass of water with a dose of cyanide," Sampedro says in the video broadcast during Antena 3's prime-time evening news program last Wednesday.
"When I drink this," he said, "I will have given up the most human thing that I possess, my body. But I will have also freed myself from the most humiliating slavery, which is for me to be a living head attached to a dead body."
"Like some judges and the majority of people who love freedom and life, I think living is a right, not an obligation," Sampedro said. Antena 3 station cut the tape just as the poison began to take effect. Other Spanish television stations showed shorter clips of the video.