Twins allowed to commit suicide

BRUSSELS - Identical twins were allowed to take their lives together after their dwindling eyesight became an unbearable burden, a Belgian newspaper has reported.

The men died on Dec 14, Het Laatste Nieuws reported, in the first case in the world of twins using the legal right to euthanasia.

The 45-year-old men, who were born deaf, had spent their entire lives together, the newspaper reported. They grew up in the same room, both qualified as shoemakers and later moved into the same apartment in Putte, 30 kilometres northeast of Brussels.

But their dwindling eyesight meant that within a few years they would lose their only means of communication. They found the prospect of only being able to touch one another intolerable, the newspaper wrote.

Belgian law permits euthanasia if the wish is expressed by the patient and doctors detect an unbearable degree of suffering.

The brothers had no terminal illness or physical pain, but the doctors at the UZ hospital in Brussels agreed to their request.

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Writer: DPA