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Dutch Court of Appeal convicts Albert Heringa

Dutch Albert Heringa appeared before the Court of Appeal and heard a conviction for a suspended sentence of 6 months. This is 3 months more than the prosecutor requested. In 2008 Heringa assisted his mother of 99 years with her suicide, and was first found guilty in 2003. That first conviction left him without punishment, after which a number of appeals followed, both by the State Prosecutor and Heringa: in 2015 an acquittal, in 2017 the Supreme Court referred the case back to the Den Bosch Court of Appeal, with the above mentioned result. Cassation is considered by Heringa.

The court in Den Bosch now ruled that Heringa is guilty of assisted suicide, and could not invoke force majeure. The court counted against Heringa that he left his mother alone after she had taken the deadly mixture, and that he did not immediately report what happened. Heringa himself is disappointed about the verdict, but told the court that ten years later he still does not regret what he did, because otherwise he would have felt that he betrayed his mother. The Dutch association for a voluntary end of life NVVE is “enormously disappointed and bewildered”, according to NOS. The association believes Heringa had no choice but to help his mother and his help should not be called a crime. The NVVE will continue to support Heringa if his legal battle continues.

Heringa’s case is part of the Dutch discussion on “voltooid leven” (completed life)