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Jakarta Post

Court begins hearings in euthanasia lawsuit of tsunami survivor

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Banda Aceh   /   Wed, May 17, 2017   /   01:59 pm
Court begins hearings in euthanasia lawsuit of tsunami survivor The wife of Berlin Silalahi, Ratnawati (center), accompanied by Silalahi's lawyers sits at the Banda Aceh District Court in Aceh on May 3. Berlin has sought a court ruling to allow him to legally undergo euthanasia. (Serambinews.com via Tribunnews.com/Masrizal)

The Banda Aceh District Court in Aceh has begun hearings in a lawsuit filed by resident Berlin Silalahi, a survivor of the 2004 tsunami who has demanded that the court allow him to undergo euthanasia.

The first hearing was conducted on Monday and presided over by judge Ngatimen when a petition was read and testimonies of witnesses Puspita Dewi and Habibah, Berlin's former neighbors at a shelter in Bakoy, Aceh Besar, were heard.

Berlin's lawyer from the Aceh People Advocacy Foundation (YARA), Safaruddin, said Berlin has been suffering from a chronic disease that caused paralysis, leaving him unable to provide for his family.

(Read also: Your letters: Euthanasia shouldn't be legalized)

Berlin, 45, and his wife Ermawati, an unemployed housewife, have two daughters. The eldest daughter, 12-year-old Tasya Maizura, is being taken care of by Ermawati's sibling in Lambajabat, Meuraxa district, while her sister, Fitria Baqis, 6, temporarily lives with in the YARA Headquarters with her parents and 17 other families.

"Berlin suffers from a chronic disease, including infection caused by bone inflammation, paralysis and asphyxiation. He is unable to carry out activities, let alone feed his family. [Berlin] feels he is a burden on his family," Safaruddin said as quoted by tribunnews.com.

His family's shelter was demolished by local authorities.

Housing assistance promised during the post-tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction period never materialized, leaving Berlin to suffer physically and psychologically, Safaruddin said.

Berlin filed the lawsuit on May 3 to gain permission to carry out assisted suicide, which is illegal according to existing laws. (afr/bbs)