The trial has begun of a 30-year-old man from Eindhoven accused of helping people to take their own lives by selling a lethal powder online.
Alex S allegedly sold the “suicide powder” to dozens of customers. At least six people are thought to have died after taking the powder.
S is a member of Coöperatie Laatste Wil (CLW), an organisation which campaigns for the right to die by circumventing the strict rules that apply to euthanasia in the Netherlands.
He is also accused of breaking the medicines act and money laundering. Another nine members of the organisation will also be prosecuted, the public prosecution department said.
The public prosecution department claims S. had been selling the poisonous substance, which is not illegal in itself, between November 2018 and June 2021 and may have had hundreds of clients.
S said in a written defence that “we must be able to decide for ourselves what we do with our body, life and end of life.”
However, the powder, which is only referred to as “Substance X” is not an easy way out, experts said. Death from the powder, which starves the cells of oxygen, can be painful and take up to 40 hours.
One witness, a man with mental health problems , ended up in intensive care after taking the powder and then changing his mind, the public prosecutor said. It accuses S of selling the powder to vulnerable people who have not thought through their wish to die without asking questions.
It also accuses him of having earned €50,000 from selling the powder, a charge he denies.
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