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Court convicts French euthanasia doctor

AFP · 25 Oct 2015, 10:01

Published: 25 Oct 2015 10:01 GMT+01:00

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A lower court had acquitted Nicolas Bonnemaison last year in an emotionally charged trial that gripped a country where euthanasia is illegal.

The appeal court in the western city of Angers found Bonnemaison, 54, guilty of deliberately killing one of the seven, an 86-year-old woman.

Bonnemaison, his head lowered, did not react as the verdict was read out on Saturday.

The public prosecutor had sought a five-year suspended sentence. Bonnemaison had faced a maximum of life imprisonment.

The acquittal came just a day after France's highest administrative court authorised ending the life of a quadriplegic in a vegetative state, a landmark decision that divided his family and was immediately blocked by the European Court of Human Rights pending a review of the case.

Bonnemaison, who has been struck off the medical register, was accused of "poisoning particularly vulnerable people" -- five women and two men who died between March 2010 and July 2011 soon after being admitted to the hospital in the southwestern city of Bayonne where he worked.

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Euthanasia remains illegal in France despite recent efforts to ease legislation dealing with the terminally ill -- a campaign promise by President Francois Hollande.

In March, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of a law allowing medics to place terminally ill patients in a deep sleep until they die.

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