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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 May, 2003, 02:01 GMT 03:01 UK
Swiss suicide charity investigated
Robert and Jennifer Stokes
Robert and Jennifer Stokes were not terminally ill
The Swiss authorities say they are investigating a number of recent cases in which people have been helped to commit suicide.

The Public Prosecutor's Office in the city of Zurich says it has been concerned for some time about a Swiss voluntary euthanasia charity, Dignitas.

The charity helped a British husband and wife, Robert and Jennifer, Stokes end their lives two months ago even though neither was thought to be terminally ill.

The prosecutor's office said it was particularly worried about the speed with which the assisted suicides took place - in many cases patients were dead within a day of arriving in Zurich.

Founded in 1998, Dignitas has helped more than 100 people die - at least two-thirds of them foreigners.

Under a Swiss law dating back to 1937, assisted suicide is a crime only if those providing assistance can be shown to have acted out of self-interest.

The case of Stokes caused an outcry in the UK when they travelled to Zurich at the end of March.

The Swiss authorities are also looking into the suicide of an elderly German woman who married a much younger man shortly before her death.

The German authorities are already investigating this case.




SEE ALSO:
Dignitas: Swiss suicide helpers
20 Jan 03  |  Europe
Briton prepares for Swiss suicide
20 Jan 03  |  England
The Swiss way of death
12 Aug 02  |  Newsnight
Q&A: Assisted suicide
29 Apr 02  |  Health


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