The Hague - A Dutch appeals court has cleared a man of any criminal responsibility for helping his 99-year-old mother take her own life, a case that aimed to create precedents for assisting suicide in a country where euthanasia already is legal under certain circumstances.
Judges in Arnhem said Albert Heringa should not be prosecuted for helping his mother die in 2008. They said Wednesday he had to make a decision between obeying the law against assisting suicide and his "unwritten moral duty" to help his mother achieve her wish for "a painless, peaceful and dignified death."
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While euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands for years if carried out under strict conditions by a physician, assisted suicide by a friend or relative of the person who wants to die remains illegal.