The Swiss group Dignitas has filed a complaint against the Zurich prosecutor’s office for interrupting an assisted suicide. On August 2, a 67-year-old woman suffering from a genetic disease who weighed only 35 kilos attempted to kill herself at a Dignitas clinic.
About 160 Britons have died at Dignitas, about one in six of the clients of the Swiss suicide clinic in Zurich. What is it like? London’s Daily Mail – whose specialty is first person narratives, rather than detached commentary – interviewed the daughter of a 74-year-old woman who died there in 2009.
The Sunday Times, in line with its new editorial policy, ran a typically effusive article last weekend about last night’s ‘documentary’ in which we saw a British man, Peter Smedley, kill himself on screen by drinking poison at the Dignitas suicide facility near Zurich. Earlier this year I suggested that the BBC was acting in the role of cheerleader for assisted suicide through its partisan coverage of this issue; and I blogged earlier about how this particular programme was further evidence of BBC bias and would fuel more suicides by way of the Werther effect. But I was also interested to see Mr Pratchett’s (brief) description in the Sunday Times about how the documentary came to be made in the first place. ‘Late last year the BBC, which had earlier transmitted my Dimbleby lecture on assisted dying, asked me to "learn something about assisted dying practices elsewhere in Europe" and also to speak to Britons who had signed up with Dignitas… Of course I said yes.’ Here are twenty things the programme did not tell us about assisted suicide and euthanasia in Europe:
The BBC’s decision to screen a man's dying moments at the Dignitas suicide facility in a documentary fronted by Terry Pratchett has already come under heavy criticism. A five-minute sequence in the BBC2 programme, due to be shown on 13 June, shows celebrity author Pratchett witnessing Peter, a British man in his early 70s who has motor neurone disease, taking his own life at the controversial Swiss facility.
A Belgian black comedy about assisted suicide has taken away the top prize at the Rome Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter predicts that Please Kill Me will become a “cult hit” on the art house circuit.
The founder of controversial Swiss assisted-suicide clinic Dignitas, Ludwig Minelli, has said that anyone whose terminally ill partner commits suicide should also be assisted in dying – even if they are in perfect physical health.