Reprieve for helping mom to die

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A chinese man who helped his bedridden mother end her life by providing a fatal dose of pesticide walked free from court after he was sentenced to three years in prison with a four-year reprieve for murder.

Deng Mingjian, the man in red shirt walked free from court yesterday. [ Photo/]

Deng Mingjian, the man in red shirt walked free from court yesterday. [ Photo/]

Panyu District People's Court in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, said it was giving Deng Mingjian a lenient sentence because of the way he had cared for his mother before her death.

She had become paralyzed 20 years ago after a series of strokes and other complications.

About 10 years ago, Deng and his wife moved to Guangzhou from their hometown in Sichuan Province to work and save money for his mother's medical bills. After his father died in 2010, he moved his mother to Guangzhou to take care of her.

The 73-year-old told him she wanted to die and insisted in May last year that Deng buy her pesticide, the New Express Daily reported yesterday.

Deng handed the pesticide to his mother and watched as she drank it. She died shortly after.

He told police she had died of natural causes but an autopsy revealed the pesticide.

Relatives, fellow villagers and prosecutors appealed for a lenient sentence since Deng was well-known for his care for his mother. He never complained despite the fact his mother had a bad temper, relatives said.

He often carried her on his back so she could buy her medicine at hospitals, fellow villagers told the court.

With tears in his eyes, 41-year-old Deng, holding his wife's hand, left court on Wednesday saying: "I'm so sorry. Thanks to the judge. Thank you all."

He told the newspaper: "I never thought I would get the reprieve." He said he was full of regret for the crime he had committed. "I didn't want my mother to die. I hoped she could live for another two or three years."

Last June, in Guangzhou's neighboring city of Dongguan, a mother was jailed for five years for drowning her 13-year-old twin sons who suffered from cerebral palsy.

Han Qunfeng, 38, said she had lost all hope after looking after the boys for 13 years.

The debate over mercy killing, illegal in China, has long been heated.

"If euthanasia can be accepted by the general public, it is an advancement of both society and morality," Ma Xuesong, of the Jiangxi Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua news agency.

Yan Sanzhong, director of Jiangxi Normal University's law department, said China should analyze the basic principles of its criminal law and take steps to legalize euthanasia.

However, those who are against euthanasia hold the view that the right to life is above other considerations, Xinhua said, citing Lin Cunbao, of the Baohui law firm in Guangdong Province.

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2002, giving the terminally ill the right to end their lives.

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