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Factfile The legal framework

THE law banning assisted suicide in Britain has come under increasing pressure in recent years with a series of high-profile cases calling for it to be scrapped.

Among them was 58-year-old Tony Nicklinson, who was paralysed from the neck down after suffering a stroke in 2005 and fought a long battle through the courts in England, which ended in failure two years ago. He died of natural causes within weeks of the verdict.

While assisted suicide is illegal in the UK, several countries around the world allow the practice.

Switzerland's Dignitas organisation has helped more than 1000 people kill themselves, including 92 people from Britain.

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