Dignitas Assisted Suicide Clinic in Switzerland Probed, Killed Man With Depression

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Dignitas Assisted Suicide Clinic in Switzerland Probed, Killed Man With Depression

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 25
, 2009

Zurich, Switzerland (LifeNews.com) — The Dignitas assisted suicide facility in Switzerland is coming under investigation for allegedly killing a man with depression. Under the euthanasia law in Switzerland, someone can only be killed in an assisted suicide if they suffer from a terminal illness.

Swiss Judge Philippe Barboni has ordered an investigation of the death of Andrei Haber, a Romanian who lived in Fribourg.

Relatives notified Swiss authorities that he had planned to kill himself at the Dignitas facility.

"This case presents a particular fact: that the person didn’t suffer from a serious or incurable disease, provoking severe pain. His motives were essentially psychological," Judge Barboni said, according to Swiss media reports.

Care Not Killing, a British-based group that opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia, commented on Haber’s death and the resulting probe, which it called felicitous given that euthanasia advocates appear to prey on the depressed.

"Almost invariably, they change their minds over time… and die in due course peacefully and with dignity," a spokesman said.

A former worker for a Dignitas suicide clinic, Soraya Wernli, spent two and a half years working at the suicide clinic. She told the London Daily Mail newspaper in January she began to see the suicide clinic not as the compassionate place for ending lives but as a money-making killing machine taking advantage of the disabled and terminally ill.

She explained how its founder and operator, Ludwig Minelli, would rush people through the death process by giving them the deadly drugs just hours after arriving from the airport.

"This is the biggest step anyone will ever take. They should at least be allowed to stay overnight, to think about what they are doing. But Minelli would have none of it," she told the Daily Mail. "He once said to me that if he had his way, he would have vending machines where people could buy barbiturates to end their lives as easily as if they were buying a soft drink or a bar of chocolate."

"And Minelli has the cheek to call his practice Dignitas, when dignity is the last thing afforded to these poor people," the former nurse said.

Since leaving the clinic in 2005 she has dedicated her time to trying to expose the abuses there and put it out of business.

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