Dutch man sentenced for assistance in suicide


Western Europe


Pro-life demonstrators oppose voluntary assisted dying laws. Photo EPA, James Ross

A judge sentenced a Dutch man to three months of prison for helping his girlfriend to commit suicide.

The 45-year old Michel received his verdict on Tuesday, the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad reports. Michel helped his 39-year-old girlfriend, Evelien, in ending her life. She was seriously ill and had expressed the wish to die. Her boyfriend was her primary caregiver. He admitted that he helped his girlfriend commit suicide but still stands behind his actions.


Michel says that he acted out of love, RTL Nieuws writes. In the last year of her life, his girlfriend could only lay on her bed in a dark room without light and sound, as she could not handle any stimulations. "She was always dizzy and could not walk anymore. She could not get up, go to the restroom or even move", the defendant said.

He tells RTL Nieuws that the problems started in 2011 when Evelien's condition deteriorated. In 2015, she could not work anymore. However, medical professionals could not find an explanation for her health problems. A German physician concluded that it was most likely Lyme disease that was causing the troubles. However, a German report could not be transferred to the Dutch system.


After a while, Evelien's health was so bad that she could do nothing anymore. That was when she indicated that she had reached the boundaries of a dignified life.

As she did not have an official diagnosis from a medical expert, she was not eligible for official euthanasia. Therefore, she and Michel prepared for her suicide themselves.

Michel filmed the deed to prove that he did not kill his girlfriend. After she passed away, he called the police and a doctor.

He underwent several interrogations and, in the end, received a notice that he was being accused of assisted suicide, which is illegal in The Netherlands.

Terrible dilemma

Michel's lawyer says that the law on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide is strict. "It is fantastic for everyone who is eligible. But for people who do not classify, it is hard-hearted. This way, you confront partners of people who suffer unbearably with a terrible dilemma."



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