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An attempt to overturn the UK law on assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia by appealing to the European Court of Human Rights has failed.

The Strasbourg court has rejected as inadmissable applications by Jane Nicklinson, whose husband Tony suffered from locked-in syndrome, and Paul Lamb, who was paralysed following a car crash.

Lawyers for both campaigners had argued that those who wished to end their lives but were unable to do so should be able to seek assistance to do so without the nurse or doctor being criminalised.

Assisted suicide is prohibited by section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 and voluntary euthanasia is considered to be murder under UK law.

The seven-judge panel on the ECHR unanimously dismissed Mrs Nicklinson’s claim on the grounds that it was for the national parliament to decide on such a sensitive issue. (Report by The Guardian, London)

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