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Life Circle president Erika Preisig gets suspended sentence and fine in assisted suicide case

On Tuesday the 9th of July, the criminal court from canton Basel-Country in north western Switzerland, handed her a 15-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of CHF20,000 ($20,137).Erika Preisig was judged not guilty of murder, as the court decided that the 60-year-old woman who wanted to end her life was capable of discernment’s she did well understand what it meant to end her life even dough she was depressed. But the court decided that Erika Preisig had violated the handling of Sodium Pentobarbital, the medication used for assisted dying in Switzerland. So for this violation she was judged guilty and got the 15 months suspended prison and the high fine. 

Preisig did not request independent expert opinions as done by similar organisations such as Exit. As Erika Preisig explained, she could not find any psychiatrist to do assessments for the Eternal Spirit Foundation. For her own safety she would love to have a psychiatrist to do assessments in case of depression, the most common reaction to a incurable illness. The prosecution relied on a psychiatric report (done after the death of the woman) that established that the 67-year-old suffered from severe depressive disorder and a psychosomatic disorder.

The woman suffered from several somatic disorders with unbearable pain syndrome and she did not accept that psychiatrists gave her the diagnosis „psychosomatic disorder“ as this would have been like accepting that she did not suffer at all and had „invented” all her suffering. As she did not accept the diagnosis of the psychiatrists, they judged her not of sound mind. But the judges decided that she was indeed completely of sound mind. The prosecution had requested a five-year prison sentence (the minimum for murder) and a fine of CHF10,000 for Dr. Preisig.