Switzerland Supreme Court overturns conviction, based on a technicality, of assisted suicide of a healthy woman

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

Pierre Beck

In October 2019, a Geneva court gave a suspended sentence to the regional vice-president of the assisted suicide group EXIT, Pierre Beck, for assisting the suicide of an 86-year-old healthy womanSwissinfo reported that Beck admitted to acting beyond the criteria of the law but he said that he didn’t regret his action and faced with a similar situation he would likely do it again.

Swissinfo reported on December 9, 2021,  that Switzerland’s Supreme Court overturned the October 2019 conviction of Beck on a technicality:

On Thursday, the Federal Court in Lausanne overturned this decision. Although judges were divided about the legality and nuances of the case, a majority of three against two concluded that Beck could not be found guilty under the Federal Act on Medicinal Products, but that the case should go back to the cantonal court in Geneva and be examined under the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances, which includes pentobarbital.

Beck admitted to assisting the suicide of an 86-year-old healthy woman because she wanted to die with her husband.


“Beck repeated to RTS public television that he ‘carried out the act with full medical conscientiousness,’” Swissinfo reported.

Editor’s note. This appeared in Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and reposted with permission.