Human Rights Veto on Assisted Suicide Plea; Woman Loses Euro Court Case

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), April 29, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Human Rights Veto on Assisted Suicide Plea; Woman Loses Euro Court Case


TERMINALLY-ILL Diane Pretty today lost her right-to-die case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Mrs Pretty, aged 43, wants her husband Brian to be allowed to help her commit suicide without fear of prosecution.

The European court ruling was her last hope of a legal seal of approval to what she sees as her right to die with dignity.

Mrs Pretty, of Luton, Bedford-shire, is dying of motor neurone disease and her life expectancy is described as "very poor".

Suicide is not a crime in England but assisting a suicide is, and Mrs Pretty has been battling in vain for a guarantee that Brian will not be prosecuted.

She turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg when Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions refused to promise immunity for Brian, and subsequent appeals were rejected.

Despite being paralysed from the neck down, Mrs Pretty travelled with her husband by ambulance from her home to Strasbourg last month to be present for the half-day case in front of the Human Rights judges. She heard her lawyer argue that denying her the right to an assisted death when she chooses is a breach of the Human Rights Convention, which outlaws "inhuman or degrading treatment".

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Human Rights Veto on Assisted Suicide Plea; Woman Loses Euro Court Case
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