Court suspends euthanasia for Tarragona gunman, which already had a date

An appeal by police union USPAC against the assisted death halts case after all the formalities had been overcome

2 min
The place where the slingshot was barricaded in Riudoms and the ex-security guard with a bulletproof vest and several weapons

BarcelonaJuly 28th. This was the date for the Tarragona gunman to end his life through euthanasia he had requested after being seriously injured. The procedures for requesting an assisted death had advanced and prospered after the head of Tarragona's Examining Magistrate's Court number 5 authorised the process to continue, arguing that a dignified death is a "fundamental right" and courts cannot interfere in the process of an assisted death. Now, however, an appeal by police union USPAC, which represents police officers injured in the shoot out, has successfully appealed for its suspension.

In a ruling advanced by SER to which Efe has had access, the Court has ordered the Penitentiary Hospital Center of Terrassa (Vallès Occidental), where the accused is imprisoned, to paralyse "the whole euthanasia process" until the Court of Tarragona resolves the appeal. The decision comes only one week before the date scheduled for the euthanasia.

The Court investigating the former security guard who in December shot three former colleagues at the Securitas offices in Tarragona, as well as a policeman, has halted the euthanasia process at the union's request. The police defend that the criminal proceedings currently underway and victims' right to be compensated must override the right of the accused to a dignified death. In fact, it is an unprecedented case in which fundamental rights collide: the rights to integrity, dignity, freedom and personal autonomy as opposed to the right to effective judicial protection for the trial.

The guard, 46 years old, requested euthanasia due to the spinal cord injury he suffers as a result of the exchange of gunfire with police, who shot him after he barricaded himself inside an abandoned farmhouse. The penitentiary hospital gave the green light the assisted death process, which had to be thoroughly assessed by the Catalan Guarantee and Assessment Committee before being approved. Also, the head of the 5th Examining Court in Tarragona initially claimed that "there is no legal provision that allows a judge to interfere" in this process, and that the only appeals that can be lodged are against medical decisions.

Union USPAC, through its lawyer José Antonio Bitos, appealed against the resolution, in a document in which it also asks the court to raise a question of unconstitutionality to the Constitutional Court to clarify whether the euthanasia law may violate the fundamental right to effective judicial protection of victims. UPSAC requests in this appeal that the assisted dying process be suspended, a request that the judge has upheld, and that the criminal proceedings against the former security guard continue.