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Swiss court extends physician-assisted suicide to incurable mental patients

[JURIST] The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland [official website, in German] ruled Friday that people with serious mental illnesses may be permitted to commit physician-assisted suicide under certain conditions. The decision recognized "that an incurable, permanent, serious mental disorder can cause similar suffering as a physical [disorder]" and extended Switzerland's current physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill for such patients. Patients suffering from serious mental illnesses will be required to demonstrate that the desire is not the "expression of a curable, psychiatric disorder" but a "well-considered and permanent decision" based on rational judgment. Basler Zeitung has local coverage [in German].

Netherlands legalized euthanasia [JURIST news archive; BBC report] in 2001 and Belgium in 2002. Under Article 115 [text, in German] of the Swiss penal code, assisting another in suicide is not criminal unless the assistance was rendered with a "selfish" motive. AP has more.

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