As discussed earlier, the Swiss Penal Code allows for assistance to die. Swiss case law, has added further conditions. As stated in the introduction, a person who wants assistance to die must possess:
1. decision-making capacity; and 2. they must have ‘control’ or ‘ownership of the action’ (‘Tatherrschaft’ in German) over their death (see Swiss Federal Court BGE 133 I 58).
This second point has been legally-interpreted as the need for the person, themselves, to push the button or drink the liquid unaided.
Under Swiss law, ‘euthanasia’ is not permitted. This means that even when a person opts for a lethal injection, the doctor can lawfully to insert the cannula into the person’s arm, however, it is the person who must set the drip going. This is done by opening the tap on the intravenous line (see the following video of the death of Zsuzsi Yardley for how this process works).
Alternatively, if the person has opted to drink the Nembutal, he/ she will be given a glass containing a mixture of the Nembutal powder and water. They must drink the Nembutal unaided either using a straw or by lifting the glass to their mouth.
There are a number of assisted suicide groups currently catering to non-Swiss nationals. However, this book has elected only to discuss the activities of our good friends at Pegasos Swiss Association in Basel.