Dijon: A Frenchman who is suffering from an incurable condition said Friday he plans to livestream his death on social media as he refuses to take food, drink or medicine after President Emmanuel Macron turned down his request for euthanasia.
Alain Cocq, who suffers from a rare condition where the walls of the arteries stick together, said he believed he had less than a week to live and would livestream his death on Facebook from Saturday morning.
He had written to Macron asking to be given a substance that would allow him to die in peace but the president wrote back to him explaining this was not allowed under French law.
Cocq, 57, has used his plight to draw attention to the situation of terminally-ill patients in France who are unable to be allowed to die in line with their wishes.
"Because I am not above the law, I am not able to comply with your request," Macron said in a letter to Cocq, which the patient published on his Facebook page.
"I cannot ask anyone to go beyond our current legal framework… Your wish is to request active assistance in dying which is not currently permitted in our country," said Macron.
'With profound respect'
In order to show France the "agony" caused by the law in its current state, Cocq told AFP he would broadcast the end of his life on his Facebook page which he believed would come in "four to five days".
He said he hoped his struggle would be remembered and "go down in the long term" as a step forwards in changing the law. He would halt all feeding, drinking and treatment from Friday night.
Macron said in his letter that "with emotion, I respect your action." And the president added a handwritten postscript, saying: "With all my personal support and profound respect."
An Elysee official told AFP that Macron wanted to hail Cocq's commitment to the rights of the handicapped.
Right-to-die cases have long been an emotive issue in France.
Most polarising was the case of Vincent Lambert who was left in a vegetative state after a traffic accident in 2008 and died in July last year after doctors removed life support following a long legal battle.
The case divided the country as well as Lambert's own family, with his parents using every legal avenue to keep him alive but his wife and nephew insisting he must be allowed to die.
A French court in January acquitted the doctor who switched off the life support systems in a verdict that was a formality after prosectors said he "perfectly respected his legal obligations."