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Judge fines Final Exit group convicted of assisting Minnesota suicide

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug 24 (Reuters) - A Minnesota judge on Monday fined the national right-to-die group Final Exit Network $30,000 on its criminal conviction for assisting a woman's suicide in 2007 and interfering with the death scene.

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A screen grab of the website for the Final Exit Network group. Final Exit attorney Robert Rivas said in a statement on Monday that the group would pay the fine as quickly as possible and would continue to work in Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug 24 (Reuters) - A Minnesota judge on Monday fined the national right-to-die group Final Exit Network $30,000 on its criminal conviction for assisting a woman's suicide in 2007 and interfering with the death scene.

Dakota County prosecutors had said during the group's jury trial that Doreen Dunn, 57, died by helium asphyxiation with two Final Exit group members present in her home, who then cleaned up after the suicide.

Judge Christian Wilton also ordered Final Exit to pay nearly $3,000 in restitution, plus court fees and until full payment is made, refrain from providing services in Minnesota or submit to court review any planned activity in the state, court records show.

Dunn, who lived in a Minneapolis suburb, was not terminally ill but a medical procedure had left her with chronic pain for more than a decade before her death, which had been originally attributed to coronary artery disease.

Authorities reopened the investigation in 2010 after Georgia investigators told police Dunn had become a Final Exit member months before her death and had many contacts with members.

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A grand jury in May 2012 indicted the group and four of its members on various charges of assisting Dunn's suicide. None of the individuals indicted stood trial.

Final Exit attorney Robert Rivas said in a statement on Monday that the group would pay the fine as quickly as possible and would continue to work in Minnesota.

Rivas has also said the conviction was based on the group's exercising its right to freedom of speech and would be appealed.

Final Exit has said its members can be present but do not encourage, provide the means for or assist in a person's suicide.

Minnesota is not among the handful of states where assisted suicide is legal.

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Reporting by David Bailey

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