Dignitas founder speaks at Scots suicide conference

Ludwig Minelli, founder of the Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas, will be in Edinburgh to address a conference on assisted suicide today.

Mr Minelli has previously admitted that his clinic has helped psychiatric patients kill themselves, including people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.

He has also said that healthy people should be helped to commit suicide if they so wish.


Mr Minelli will appear at today’s conference alongside Margo MacDonald MSP, who is drawing up a Bill which she hopes will legalise assisted suicide in Scotland.

However, the Independent MSP’s previous attempt to change the law was soundly rejected by 85 to 16 votes in the Scottish parliament.

The conference, which is taking place in Edinburgh, will also be attended by Jane Nicklinson, whose late husband Tony campaigned for doctors to be allowed to end his life.

The MSP said: “Ludwig Minelli’s views have been interpreted differently by different commentators and it will do no harm to allow him to set the record straight at our conference.”


In 2009 a former Dignitas employee spoke out after the double suicide of a British couple.

Nurse Soraya Wernli told The Sunday that in reality the Dignitas ‘clinic’ is “just one person who has found a way to make a lot of money out of death and the fear of it”, .

“There is nothing dignified or uplifting about it”, added Mrs Wernli, whose two and half years at the facility left her concerned that people were committing suicide because they were depressed or felt burdensome.


In September a Guardian writer warned that if assisted suicide were allowed, proposed safeguards could not ultimately be trusted.

Andrew Brown said that the “changing interpretations” of the law on abortion “show how little legal safeguards are worth when the sentiment behind them evaporates”.

He disagreed with claims that “the right kind of legislation, with the clearest possible safeguards, will stop unwanted grannies being liquidated for their asset value”.

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