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Court: Frozen Couple Must Be Buried

March 13, 2002

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SAUMUR, France (AP) _ A court in central France ruled Wednesday that the corpses of a dead couple who were frozen in hopes of one day being brought back to life must be removed from their cryogenic chambers and buried.

The court in the central French town of Saumur ruled in favor of local authorities, who had argued that the continued refrigeration of Raymond Martinot and Monique Leroy was against the law.

According to French law, a corpse must be buried, cremated or donated to science.

The couple’s son, Remy Martinot, 35, had sought to keep his parents’ bodies in the basement of the family’s chateau in the town of Neuil-sur-Layon, arguing he was carrying out his parents’ last wishes.

When his longtime companion died in 1984, Raymond Martinot, a doctor who was fascinated by cryonics, received an authorization from local authorities to have her body buried at the family’s chateau. But instead of interring her, he injected anticoagulants into her veins and froze the body.

Raymond Martinot told his son that when he died, he wanted to be frozen alongside his wife, and left the necessary needles and products to inject him with. The elder Martinot died on Feb. 22 at the age of 80.

But this time, local authorities objected.

The court in Suamur authorized officials to use force if necessary in carrying out its ruling.

The son’s lawyer, Alain Fouquet, had urged the court ``to respect the last wishes of Dr. Martinot″ and argued that although ``funerary legislation gives no permission for freezing a corpse, it does not prohibit it.″

Several years before Dr. Martinot died, he was interviewed by French television station M6 and said he was unsure that scientific advances would ever meet his goal.

``It might be extremely long, because no one can predict what will happen in the future,″ he told his interviewer. ``It might never be possible.″

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