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New rules drive suicide firm to Switzerland

The Local · 15 Sep 2012, 14:08

Published: 15 Sep 2012 14:08 GMT+02:00

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The group Verein Sterbehilfe Deutschland (StHD) told reporters in Zürich that it was pushing for Germany to adopt legislation similar to that in Switzerland, which allows assisted suicide.

The group, which has some 300 members and claims to have assisted in around 60 suicides, has no plans to help anyone take their life in Switzerland, StHD head Roger Kusch said, according to Swiss news agency ATS.

The group's decision to open up shop in Zürich was instead linked to fear that it could be prosecuted under a law that is likely to be passed in Germany making assisted suicide for profit a criminal offense, he explained.

On its website, the Hamburg-based organisation says it charged an annual membership fee of €200, or a life-long membership fee of €2,000.

But Kusch insisted the group he created in 2010 was not a commercial enterprise, pointing out that it had recently changed its rules so the membership dues would be returned in the case of an assisted suicide. It was unclear however who the money would go to.

Despite the change, StHD could find itself banned in Germany under the expected new law - but the group in that case could continue to exist in Switzerland.

Swiss law allows for "passive" or "indirect active" assistance to suicide, such as supplying a person with a lethal dose of a drug, provided it is not done for selfish motives or for gain.

In 2008, Kusch created an organisation called "Dr. Roger Kusch Assisted Suicide", which was banned in Germany for charging €8,000 each time it helped someone take their own life.

Story continues below…

“That was a mistake," he said Friday, according to ATS.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:02 September 15, 2012 by smart2012
Let's add another "small" point. This company will also see this as a good move in terms of taxation. So i guess they are doing double bingo... Btw, I do not want to comment if assisted suicide is good or not as I never really studied the case, I am just talking about legal and economical implications saying that they are doing double bingo
20:07 September 15, 2012 by realist1961
the Hamburg-based organisation says it charged an annual membership fee of €200, or a life-long membership fee of €2,000.

A life-long membership for a group that helps you kill yourself? Marketing geniuses!
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