The public prosecution office has said it will press ahead with the prosecution of 10 people linked to right-to-die campaign group Coöperatie Laatste Wil (CLW) for conspiring to provide a lethal substance and forming a criminal organisation.
Helping people to commit suicide and providing the means then followed by a suicide are criminal offences in the Netherlands, unless this is done by a doctor within the legal framework for euthanasia.
The 10 people involved all had their own role to play in organised meet-ups at people’s homes, which were about more than simply providing information about ending one’s life, the prosecutor alleged. A police investigation has shown that ‘substance X’, as the lethal powder is referred to, was distributed as a result of the meetings by two members of the group.
The CLW put en end to the meetings last year following the arrest of a 28-year-old man from Eindhoven on suspicion of selling the suicide powder to at least dozens of people and who was a member of the organisation. His trial is ongoing.
CLW chairman Jos van Wijk and board member Petra de Jong are among the accused, the organisation told the Volkskrant. The news came as a surprise, it said, as it had ‘always respected the law and there are no indications that board members are involved in assisted suicides.’
The prosecutor’s announcement comes in the wake of another court case brought against the state by the CLW to decriminalise assisted suicide for people who wish to end their lives. That verdict is expected on December 14.
No date has been set as yet for the trial against the 10 people allegedly involved in procuring the lethal substance.
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