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A second unique aspect of assisted suicide in Switzerland stems from the flexible nature of the Swiss Penal Code (Art. 115 StGB), and subsequent case law that governs the practice of assisted dying.
According to Swiss law, ‘a person who, for selfish motives, persuades or assists another person to commit suicide will be punished with imprisonment of up to five years.’ This means that anyone who does not act ‘selfishly’ (eg. who does not benefit from financial gain or personal promotion) commits no crime.
Following from the Swiss Code, the person receiving the assistance does not need to be ill. However, there are two further requirements. Firstly, the person requesting the help must possess decision-making capacity and, secondly, they must have ‘control’ or ‘ownership of the action’ over their death (‘Tatherrschaft’ in German) (Swiss Federal Supreme Court decision BGE 133 I 58).