In response to her request, the authorities in Belgium have euthanised a woman who murdered her five children aged three to fourteen in a crime that shocked the population.
Genevieve Lhermitte slit the throats of her son and four daughters with a kitchen knife sixteen years ago while the children’s father was away.
The 56-year-old Lhermitte then tried unsuccessfully to take her own life but failed and called emergency services.
A court sentenced her to life in prison in 2008, and the authorities moved her to a psychiatric hospital in 2019.
Lhermitte‘s lawyers argued that their client, who had regularly seen a psychiatrist, was mentally disturbed and should not go to prison.
But the jury found her guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced her to life in jail after hearing conflicting medical expertise.
Belgian law allows an individual to choose to be euthanised if they are suffering from unbearable psychological and not mere physical suffering and cannot heal.
The person must be conscious of their decision and be able to express their wish in a reasoned and consistent manner.
In 2022, some 2,966 people died via euthanasia in Belgium, an increase of 10% compared to 2021.