Judges in Den Bosch have jailed the man who supplied so-called suicide powder to at least 10 people who killed themselves, saying he had harmed the value of human life.
The court ruled that Alex S from Eindhoven had been selling the powder, named in court as “substance X” for three years, including instructions for its use.
He was jailed for 3.5 years, with 18 months suspended. The jail term is less than the four years demanded by the public prosecutor because of the length of the trial and his own personal circumstances.
S, 29, had taken other people’s lives far too lightly over a three-year period, the court said. “He asked no questions and delivered as required. In doing so, the accused treated the lives of others very lightly and harmed the value of human life in general,” the court said in a summary. The full ruling will be published later.
S initially bought the powder because he was contemplating suicide himself because of medical problems, he told a court in Den Bosch last month.
When he discovered it could be easily obtained from the internet he came into contact with members of the Coöperatie Laatste Wil (CLW), which campaigns for the right to die and who wanted to buy it.
Over a three-year period, he made up 1,600 doses of “substance X” comprising four times the lethal amount, put the doses in a box and posted them out for €45 per batch.
The unnamed powder is used in the chemical industry. When ingested it can take up to 40 hours to die, experts have said. Selling the powder is not an offence in itself, unless the purpose is to help someone take their own life. Under Dutch law, it is illegal to help someone to die, unless a doctor acting under the strict terms of euthanasia legislation.
His lawyer has said he should be acquitted because the court has not proved that the people who died after consuming the powder obtained it from him.
The court also said that the public prosecutor’s claim that S had lived “royally” from his earnings was unfounded.
Anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts can talk or chat anonymously with the helpline 113.nl or call the free number 0800-0113.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation