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German court backs right to die

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German court backs right to die

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Germany’s highest civil court has delivered a landmark ruling supporting assisted suicide. The Federal Court of Justice was hearing an appeal by a lawyer convicted of attempted manslaughter after advising a client to help her comatose mother die.

Wolfgang Putz was cleared in a watershed ruling that said carers should be able to cut off life support where the patient had willed it.

Right to die rules vary widely across Europe with Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands the only countries allowing euthanasia. Switzerland allows assisted suicide.

In Britain the debate is focused on a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who is waging a legal battle to establish whether her husband would be prosecuted if he helped her die with her consent.