Dignitas President accused of making money on the back of euthanasia patients

Publié le 18 Jun, 2018

Twenty years after creating Dignitas, the assisted suicide organisation, its president, 85-year-old Ludwig A. Minelli, is in court, accused of “making money through death”. It is the first time that a case of this kind has been heard in Switzerland.


The prosecution is accusing him of “unauthorised commercial tactics” and “overcharging for his services”. Ludwig Minelli pays himself an annual salary of 150,000 Swiss francs[1], and the organisation has a capital of 1.8 million Swiss francs, i.e. nine times more than its counterpart, Exit, which has many more supporters. Ludwig Minelli doesn’t think that his salary is excessive. He defends his position by saying that “all work is worthy of payment”.


The lawsuit is focusing primarily on three cases: a German woman who paid 100,000 Swiss francs for euthanasia[2] when it really cost only “a few thousand francs”, and two women—mother and daughter—who each paid 10,000 francs[3]. The prosecution claims that “the fees are excessive and are not commensurate with actual costs”.


According to the Penal Code, assisted suicide becomes illegal if it is “driven by selfish motives”. It then carries a five-year prison sentence. It is a criminal offence. The prosecution demands “a suspended pecuniary sentence of 360 day at a -fine of 180 francs, i.e. 65,000 francs plus a fine of 7,500 francs”.


The prosecution is hoping that the trial will provide an opportunity to “clarify basic questions on assisted suicide and permissible costing”.


[1] i.e. an annual salary of €127,587.

[2] i.e. €84,935.

[3] i.e. €8,506.

20 minutes (18/05/2018)

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