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Court case in Netherlands might break new grounds for completed life

Albert Heringa has been cleared from charges of assisting his 99-year-old mother Moek to commit suicide. The acquittal contributes to a possible legalisation of life termination on request by a non-medical individual. The Netherlands legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2002. But Albert Heringa helped his mother die in 2008 by overdosing on medication. Last week judges of the Court of Appeal in Arnhem ruled that Heringa faced either obeying the law or following “unwritten moral duty” to help his mother meet her desire for a “painless, peaceful, and dignified death”. Heringa would have experienced life-long feelings of guilt if he hadn’t helped his mother die, the judges added. A lower court convicted Heringa in 2013, but didn’t punish him for the crime. Heringa appealed the ruling, and euthanasia advocates have applauded the higher court’s decision.