First assisted suicide by Swiss prison inmate

Bostadel prison in canton Zug, Switzerland. @Canton Zugo

A Swiss prison inmate has reportedly ended his life with the help of the assisted suicide organisation EXIT – the first time this has happened in Switzerland.

This content was published on March 9, 2023

According to the Thursday edition of the Wochenzeitung newspaper, an inmate of Bostadel prison in canton Zug died with the help of the assisted suicide organisation on February 28; the suicide assistance was reportedly performed away from the prison facility.

Canton Zurich’s Department of Justice confirmed to Swiss public radio, SRF, that it had given the go-ahead for the assisted suicide to take place but declined to provide any further details on the detainee.

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According to Zurich’s justice department, euthanasia cannot be denied simply because a person has been sentenced or is serving their sentence behind bars.

Wochenzeitung wrote that the Swiss Competence Centre for the Execution of Criminal Penalties has drawn up a document which states that internees have in principle the right to assisted suicide with the help of a third party. However, the agreement of the relevant justice authority is necessary in all cases before such a suicide can be performed.

+ Why assisted suicide is normal in Switzerland

Swiss law tolerates assisted suicide when patients commit the act themselves and helpers have no vested interest in their death. It has been legal in the country since the 1940s, and assisted suicides represent around 1.5% of the 67,000 deaths recorded on average each year.

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