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French press review 25 June 2014

5 min

The case of a paraplegic man is taken to the European human rights court. Islamist violence in Syria spills over into Iraq ... and Europe. Libya teeters between counter-revolution and implosion. And France hopes to get into the World Cup quarter-finals.


The case of Vincent Lambert, an accident victim described as being in a vegetative state, is the main story in conservative paper, Le Figaro.

Earlier this week the French State Council, the highest appeal court, decided that Vincent Lambert should be let die, basing their decision on existing law on the ending of human life and the victim's frequently repeated wish that, were he to suffer irreversible injury, he should not be kept alive artificially.


The judges stressed that they were trying to do what they believed Lambert himself would have wished. But some members of Vincent Lambert's family rejected the State Council decision and applied to the European Court of Human Rights for an injunction to ensure that Lambert continues to be fed and hydrated artificially in hospital, at least until the European legal authorities have the time to study the case in depth.

As Libération puts it in its headline, Lambert's life is now in suspense between two court decisions. The 38-year-old victim had been in a coma for the past six years.

There are, of course, other implications since a number of cases currently before French courts involve medical staff accused of crimes, including manslaughter, for their part in allowing terminally ill patients under their care to die.

As one legal expert tells Libé, the refusal to face the issue of death squarely, a tendency to hide behind forms of words, has led to practical uncertainty, hesitations, variations in interpretation. A clear, new law is needed but, as the Lambert case makes clear, the debate about what constitutes a reasonable effort to preserve human life is a complicated one.

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Libération's main story looks to "Jihadistan" - that vague new territory in the Middle East, potentially deadly byproduct of the wars in Syria and, more recently, Iraq.

There is, of course, nothing to prevent people from going to join the holy warriors fighting Bashar al-Assad in Syria or threathening to overrun the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The difficulty, emphasised by recent European anti-Jewish crimes in which the suspects were returnees from "Jihadistan" is that some holy warriors could eventually pose a security risk in their countries of origin. It's not a simple question.

Catholic La Croix looks to Libya, where polling stations are now open in parliamentary elections. The Catholic daily insists that the vote is crucial to Libya's future; the United Nations and the European Union have both called for openness and credibility. The tragic fact remains that Libya's future is actually being decided, not by ballot boxes but by the ongoing civil war opposing islamic fundamentalist fighters and a vaguely official militia under Khalifa Haftar.

La Croix says the nation liberated with such a fanfare from Colonel Moamer Kadhafi now teeters between counter-revolution and implosion.

Sports daily L'Equipe looks forward to tonight's clash between France and Ecuador at the World Cup, a match which should see "The Blues" safely into the quarter-finals.

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