Assisted dying is legal if patients suffering from intolerable pain, Italian court rules in landmark decision

Euthanasia is justified in cases where a person is suffering from an irreversible condition and “intolerable” pain, Italy’s constitutional court has ruled in a landmark decision.

The court said that, in certain circumstances, anyone who "facilitates the suicidal intention... of a patient kept alive by life-support treatments and suffering from an irreversible pathology" should not be punished.

The ruling was strongly criticised by the Catholic Church but applauded by right-to-die activists and some politicians.

In its judgment, the court said that assisted dying should be allowed if a patient had an irreversible condition which caused him or her severe physical and psychological suffering.