European Court of Human Rights Upholds Hungary’s Ban on Euthanasia in Case of ALS Patient Seeking Right to Die



The European Court of Human Rights has decided against the case of Daniel Karai, a terminally ill man from Hungary, who sought the right to assisted suicide. Diagnosed with ALS, an incurable disease, Karai argued that the Hungarian ban on euthanasia denied him dignity in his final stages of life. The court maintained that Hungary’s laws do not violate the European Convention on Human Rights, emphasizing the wide discretion states have in regulating end-of-life practices. This ruling underscores the complex debate surrounding assisted dying, balancing individual self-determination against broader societal and ethical considerations.

  • The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Daniel Karai, a terminally ill man with ALS from Hungary, seeking the right to die.
  • Karai began his legal action against the Hungarian government, arguing that the ban on euthanasia denies him dignity in life’s final stages.
  • The court found that Hungary’s ban on euthanasia does not breach the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • States have a wide area of discretion in how to regulate end-of-life practices, including the right to permit or criminalize assisted dying.
  • The ruling highlighted the risks of error and abuse in the legal provision of physician-assisted dying, including the potential for compelling vulnerable individuals towards an unwanted choice.
  • While some countries allow assisted dying under strict regulations, the majority within the Council of Europe do not, reflecting diverse societal norms and values.
  • The decision does not preclude individuals from traveling to countries where assisted dying is legal, though it may have domestic legal implications.
  • The case has sparked a new debate on assisted suicide in Hungarian public discourse, though political response remains limited.

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