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Ana Estrada becomes first person to receive euthanasia in Peru

Although it is illegal in the country, the court allowed an exception in this case, opening the door to new applicants.

Ángela Ponce

(Angela Ponce/AFP)

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On Monday, Ana Estrada became the first person to receive euthanasia in Peru after a long judicial process and despite the fact that it is technically illegal in the country. Estrada and activists for the right to die with dignity took the case to court, until the Supreme Court ratified a lower court ruling that required the Ministry of Health to respect their decision.

Dangerous precedent

The sentence does not imply the legalization of euthanasia in Peru, but rather the non-application of the penal code in this case. However, the Supreme Court's ruling represents an important precedent for other applicants, such as the case of María Benito, who rejected medical treatments that keep her alive. Furthermore, her journey through the justice system has marked a milestone in the fight of pro-euthanasia groups in Latin America.

Estrada, a psychologist by profession, suffered from polymyositis, a chronic and degenerative disease that affected her muscles, preventing her from speaking and forcing her to be in a bed with assisted breathing and under the care of nurses 24 hours a day.

Colombia and Ecuador: The only countries in Latin America where euthanasia is legal

Currently, euthanasia is legal in Colombia (since 1997) and Ecuador. In the latter, it was legalized last February, after a ruling by the Constitutional Court that declared the “conditional unconstitutionality” of article 144 of the Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP), which established sentences of between 10 and 13 years in prison for those who aided in the death of a third party.