22:22, September 05 70 0 theguardian.com

2020-09-05 22:22:04
Facebook blocks livestream of assisted dying campaigner's death

Facebook has blocked a terminally ill French campaigner for assisted dying from livestreaming his own death.

Alain Cocq, who has been suffering for 34 years from a rare and incurable degenerative disease, has stopped taking food, drink or medicine, and says he wants his death to be seen to help persuade French authorities to lift a ban on medically assisted suicide.

He said he would find another way to broadcast his death.

Facebook said in a statement: “While we respect Alain’s decision to draw attention to this important issue, we are preventing live broadcasts on his account based on the advice of experts that the depiction of suicide attempts could be triggering and promote more self-harm.”

The 57-year-old had said he would livestream his death on Facebook from Saturday morning. After Facebook blocked it, he said a new means of livestreaming would be set up within 24 hours.

“So I have finished my last meal ... I drink to your health one last time. The road to deliverance begins and, believe me, I am happy,” Cocq said in a video posted on Friday night and shot from his bed at his home in Dijon, eastern France.

“I have made up my mind and I am at peace,” he added.

He had written to French president Emmanuel Macron asking that medical professionals be allowed to assist his death. Macron wrote back saying this was not allowed under French law.

“Because I am not above the law, I am not able to comply with your request,” Macron said in a letter to Cocq, which Cocq published on his Facebook page. “Your wish is to request active assistance in dying which is not currently permitted in our country.”

France’s neighbours Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands have adopted laws that allow medically assisted dying in some cases. But France has resisted that step, in part under pressure from the Catholic church.

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