Saturday, April 8, 2023

Swiss Prosecutors ask appeals court to re-examine case of a doctor who assisted the suicide of a healthy woman

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Pierre Beck reported on April 6 that Swiss prosecutors have asked the appeal court to re-examine the case of Dr Pierre Beck who assisted the suicide of a healthy 86-year-old woman who wanted to die with her husband.

In October 2019, a Geneva court gave a suspended sentence of the former vice-president of the assisted suicide group EXIT, Pierre Beck, for assisting the suicide of an 86-year-old healthy woman

At that time Swissinfo reported that Beck admitted to acting beyond the criteria of the law but he said that he didn't regret his action and faced with a similar situation he would likely do it again.

Swissinfo reported on December 9, 2021 that Switzerland's Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Beck on a technicality.

On Thursday, the Federal Court in Lausanne overturned this decision. Although judges were divided about the legality and nuances of the case, a majority of three against two concluded that Beck could not be found guilty under the Federal Act on Medicinal Products, but that the case should go back to the cantonal court in Geneva and be examined under the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances, which includes pentobarbital.

Beck had admitted to assisting the suicide of an 86-year-old healthy woman because she wanted to die with her husband.

Swissinfo reporting on April 6, 2023 stated:
“The mere fact of a physician prescribing pentobarbital to a person in good health, capable of discernment and wishing to die, does not constitute behavior punishable by the law on narcotics,” read the court last court verdict issued in February.

But The Genevan public prosecutor’s office on Thursday said it has asked the Federal Supreme Court to take another look at the case.
Beck knowingly broke the law and did so without remorse.

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