Ashes dumped in Lake Zurich put Dignitas back in the spotlight

urns from Lake Zurich

The Swiss organisation, Dignitas, provides the main option for direct assisted suicide for those living in the UK. Yet apart from the considerable cost, there are worrying news reports. Divers from a rescue service accidentally discovered some 300 urns dumped in Lake Zurich near the Swiss assisted suicide clinic, Dignitas, and bearing the logo of the cremation service they are thought to use. Back in 2008, two Dignitas employees were caught dumping ashes into the lake when a local landowner spotted two people trying to pour ashes into the lake on his property. Last March, Dignitas Director, Ludwig Minelli, admitted in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that when he had enough urns to fill his car he drove to a quiet spot on Lake Zurich and tossed them into the water.

Newspaper reports on this Dignitas story:
The Times
The Scotsman

DPP Guidelines

The Director of Public Prosecutions clarified and eased concerns with recent guidelines. While not providing any guarantee against prosecution, they clarified the Suicide Act 1961 so persons were less likely to fear prosecution by accompanying a loved one to Switzerland.

But it is not ideal, even if concerns over Dignitas should prove unfounded (Dignitas chose not to respond when EXIT raised concerns over the organisation’s working methods last year). Why should UK citizens need to travel abroad at great expense just to ease the suffering of their final days? Is wrong to allow someone to choose the time of their own passing? Would it not be better if it was done in the open, in our own country, and with better safeguards than apparently offered in an apartment block in Zurich?

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One Response to Ashes dumped in Lake Zurich put Dignitas back in the spotlight

  1. John RAVEN says:

    It is all very well to be pious about older people feeling under pressure because they feel they are a burden on their families. But they ARE a burden on their families! And why? Because pensions are inadequate and “community care” usually amounts to “care by relatives”. So those putting forward this argument would have more credibility if they took serious steps to ensure that people are not forced to be burdens on their families.

    But, as far as I am concerned, this is a side issue. I don’t like people telling me that I should work or starve … when it is conspicuously obvious that most work in modern society is grossly unethical … production of junk food, junk toys, junk cars, junk education, junk research, junk “defence” .. all of which are deeply destructive of habitat, thereby leading directly to endless “under pressure” deaths from disease and starvation. I don’t like people forcing me into destructive “educational” activities. No more do I like people telling me when, how, and under what conditions I may die.

    Such decisions should be matters for the individual, not the state. The function of the state is to create conditions in which people are able to enact their values.

    I don’t hear any political party saying any such things. Instead, I hear about criminalising more and more activities … 4,600 of them in the term of the Labour government. I hear more about reducing the “benefits” available to the poor in order to “rescue” the super-rich. And so on.

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