“Suicide capsules” soon to be inaugurated in Switzerland?

“At the push of a button, death occurs, painless, in seconds.” This is how the “suicide capsule” that controversial pro-euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke wants to install in Switzerland during the month of July works, reports the German-speaking Swiss daily New Zurich newspaper (NZZ).

But the installation of these cabins which cause death by nitrogen asphyxiation sparks major ethical debates in the Alpine country, which allows assisted suicide in cases of “intolerable suffering”. To the point that the Pegasos organization, in charge of installing the devices, named “Sarco” and nicknamed the “Tesla of euthanasia”, will ultimately not take on this task.

This has not stopped Philip Nitschke, who, through the Swiss subsidiary of his organisation, Exit International, still intends to deploy his capsules across the country. “This 76-year-old Australian defines himself as a humanist pioneer campaigning for the liberalization of assisted suicide. All adults responsible for their actions should, according to him, have the right to choose a peaceful end, even if they are still in good health,” contextualizes the NZZ.

“No permission required”

The activist is in open conflict with the Swiss associations supporting candidates for assisted suicide who, together with the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, are laying down the legal framework for the act. However, “any person ‘putting into circulation’ an unapproved medical device is liable to a maximum sentence of three years in prison”, recalls the NZZ.

For his part, Philip Nitschke assures us that he had an expert appraisal carried out and, according to him, he is on target. “Since his device is not medical, it does not need authorization to be used in Switzerland,” wrote the NZZ. It remains to be seen whether the authorities see it that way.

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