STRASBOURG, April 29, 2002 ( – The European Court of Human Rights ruled against assisted suicide today in the case of Dianne Pretty – a UK woman suffering from motor neurone disease. After having her case rejected by the UK High Court, Pretty appealed to the European Court to have her husband be allowed to assist in her suicide without being punished. The seven member court ruled unanimously that the refusal of the UK to allow her husband to assist in her suicide did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.

Pretty perversely claimed that the “right to life” guaranteed by Article 2 of the convention also conferred the right-to-die. She also claimed that Article 3 of the convention, which is a “prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, was violated since her life was being prolonged. She argued her “right to respect for private life” (Article 8) was infringed since she was not allowed to end her life. She also said her right to “freedom of conscience” (Article 9) and “prohibition of discrimination” (Article 14) were violated.

The justices rejected all the arguments finding no violation of the Convention on any article.

See the European Court judgment:


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