Swiss charity Dignitas has gained a worldwide reputation for helping people wth chronic diseases to end their lives.
Since it was founded in 1998, it has helped hundreds of people from across Europe to commit suicide.
This includes more than 110 people from the UK, the first of who was Reg Crew, in January 2003.
The organisation was founded by Swiss lawyer, Ludwig Minelli, who runs it as a non-profit organisation with the motto: "Live with dignity, die with dignity".
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Assisting a suicide carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment in England and Wales
None of the UK cases handled by Dignitas has so far involved any criminal charges, but many have resulted in police investigations
Several European countries have no crime of assisting a suicide: Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Sweden and Finland
It takes advantage of Switzerland's liberal laws on assisted suicide, which suggest that a person can only be prosecuted if they are acting out of self-interest.
The law on suicide actually states:
"Whoever lures someone into suicide or provides assistance to commit suicide out of a self-interested motivation will, on completion of the suicide, be punished with up to five years' imprisonment".
Dignitas interprets this to mean that anyone who assists suicide altruistically cannot be punished.
Its specialist staff all work as volunteers to ensure there can be no conflict of interest.
They engage in detailed discussion about whether the patient's determination to die falls within the legal boundaries, and whether it is indeed the declared will of the patient.
Dignitas also provides a text for patients, which states their wish for assisted suicide in terms which cannot be misconstrued and which allows them to carry out their wishes even in the face of opposition, if necessary.
Once the decision has been made, the patient travels to Zurich where he or she is taken to a Dignitas flat.
The patient is given an anti-sickness drug 30 minutes before the lethal dose of barbiturate.
OPINIONS ON SUICIDE LAWS
It is... absurd that on an issue so crucial attitudes are increasingly determined by a private clinic in Switzerland.
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