British court approves right-to-die case | News | DW | 12.03.2012
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British court approves right-to-die case

A British high court has ruled that legal action to end a severely disabled man's life may go ahead. Tony Nicklinson, who cannot move below his neck, is trying to win the right to die.

A high court judge in London said that Nicklinson's case could go forward in response to a government attempt to have the legal proceedings quashed. The Ministry of Justice had argued that only parliament can change the law on murder.

The 57-year-old hopes to win legal action to enable a doctor to kill him and not face charges.

Nicklinson had a stroke in 2005 and since then has been plagued by locked-in syndrome. His mind is unaffected by the condition, but he can only communicate through blinking.

He has described his life as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable."

His wife, Jane Nicklinson, has said that death is the only way out for her husband.

"We are asking for it to be legal for someone to end his life," the former nurse told British national broadcaster BBC. "The only way to relieve Tony's suffering is to kill him. There's nothing else that can be done for him.

"He can't do anything. He's completely paralyzed, and he can't speak. If he has an itch I have to scratch it for him," she said.

Euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in Britain and those convicted face up to 14 years in jail.

ncy/dfm (AP, AFP, KNA)