Brits to pay new “death tax” on suicide tourism

Hotel News - 25/01/2010

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The taking of life has always been regarded as a serious matter in the UK and even those who aid a friend or loved one to commit suicide faces a jail sentence of up to 14 years.

However, these laws are much more relaxed in Switzerland, which has lead scores of people to embark on what has been dubbed “death tourism”, where they travel to special clinics in Switzerland to kill themselves.

In Switzerland there are special clinics designed just for this purpose, the best known of which is Dignitas. In fact, twenty three British people died in this Zurich suicide clinic just last year, and it is believed that several hundred are waiting for their turn.

In an effort to put a stop to this, right-wing Swiss politicians have decided to introduce a “death tax” of £30,000 for assisting anyone to die who has not lived in Zurich for at least a year.

Daniel Suter is the Zurich President of the Swiss Federal Democratic Union Party (EDU), which is proposing the vote. He a recent interview he stated that: “Normally people come to Zurich two or three days before they want to die. By saying that people must live in Zurich for at least a year, we believe this will cut down the number of suicides dramatically. There needs to be an end to death tourism… Effectively foreigners will be discouraged from coming to Zurich to die.”

It is believed by many people that the new legislation could put an end to suicide tourism. However, some measures need to be put into place to aid and assist seriously ill people in the UK.

But Dignitas, who make around £5,000 every time they help a patient to die, seem confident that the new law will not be passed. As Dignitas founder Ludwig Minelli stated recently: “Nothing will happen. The text of the initiative is not a legal text but rather a motion. The government would then have to elaborate and make a legal text. This could then be attacked in the Swiss Supreme Court for being in contradiction with federal law. Or failing that I believe the law would be in contradiction to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

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