Euthanasia club abandons ‘suicide powder’ scheme to avoid prosecution

The Last Will co-operative has abandoned its scheme to distribute a ‘suicide powder’ in the Netherlands to protect its members from facing criminal charges.

The public prosecution service launched an investigation last week shortly after it emerged that a 19-year-old woman had taken her own life using the powder. She bought the substance on the internet but was not a member of the Last Will group.

More than 1,100 people registered to attend a meeting organised by the co-operative to enable them to buy the powder collectively, but the event has been cancelled because of the inquiry.

The prosecution service says ordering a powder for the purpose of ending someone’s life amounts to assisted suicide, which is illegal in the Netherlands except when performed by a doctor under strict conditions.

The Last Will co-operative said it had held talks with the prosecution service about the consequences for its members. ‘We understand the prosecution service is following the law, but thankfully they understand our point of view too,’ said spokeswoman Petra de Jong.

A spokesman for the prosecution service said it would wait to decide whether to continue with the investigation. ‘We’ll look and see if Last Will keeps to the rules. If they do, we’ll eventually stop the investigation.’

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