Prosecutor targets son who helped mom, 99, end her life

On Monday the Public Prosecutor in Arnhem put in an appeal and demanded a 3 month prison sentence an one year probation against a now 74 year old man from Bennekom who helped his 99 year old mother commit suicide. The court had found the man guilty, but imposed no penalty.

The accused's mother died in June 2008 in Ermelo. She had an obvious death wish. In a documentary by television program Netwerk, which aired on February 8th, 2010, the man publicly admitted that he helped his mother commit suicide. Before that broadcast there were no indications of an unnatural death.

According to the Public Prosecutor, assisted suicide can only go unpunished if it is done by a doctor under the euthanasia legislation. This legislation lists the due care requirements a doctor must meet to commit assisted suicide with impunity. The accused is not a doctor. Assisted suicide was also not the accused's only option. He never repeated his mother's euthanasia wish to her doctor or took it to another doctor. This means that his decision to proceed to assisted suicide without eliminating all other options is not a justifiable act.

The prosecutor does not doubt the integrity of the accused's motives, but finds that his actions are still illegal and punishable. "How palpable to position of the accused may be, the fact remains that the choices he made in this process were premature, based on assumptions and with all the risks that entails."