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Widow of euthanasia campaigner arrested

The widow of a euthanasia campaigner was arrested on November 17, 2003, in connection with his death a month ago. Mrs. Patricia Kneen was arrested at her home in Port Erin, Isle of Man. She was questioned at a police station and later released on bail.

Patrick Kneen, 74, a farmer, died from prostate cancer. He spent the last months of his life trying to persuade politicians on the island to change the law on euthanasia.

Mrs Kneen’s arrest followed a letter she wrote to her local newspaper about her husband’s death. The ‘Isle of Man Examiner’ said it had intended to publish the letter in full but agreed to a demand from the island’s Attorney-General, John Corlett that it should be withheld for legal reasons.

Mr Kneen who was diagnosed with cancer February 2002, was instrumental in the Manx Parliament agreeing to discuss euthanasia.

He set up a web site ( www.manx4dwd.org.uk ) and with other members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of England and Wales, organised a 4,000-signature petition calling for the right to “die with dignity”. He died on Oct 23 and was buried in a cardboard coffin in a field near St John’s.

In May 2003, prompted by Mr. Kneen’s request, two members of the Manx Parliament’s elected chamber, the House of Keys, were granted permission to introduce a Private Member’s Bill on the issue.

The select committee set up to consider the arguments has so far received more than 200 submissions. It is expected that its report will be published in the summer of 2004.

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