The founder of controversial Swiss clinic Dignitas has said a person whose terminally ill partner commits suicide should also be given help to die – even if they are perfectly healthy.
Ludwig Minelli wants the deadly drug that is prescribed to his clients to be made available to the partners of those suffering from dementia.
At present Swiss law states it is legal to assist only those with a terminal illness.
He said: ‘A change in the law is required to give dementia sufferers and their families more opportunities.
‘The partner should be allowed to have a prescription for these drugs even when they are not terminally ill.
In such cases the partners are often a similar age and one does not want to remain without the other.’
The human rights lawyer spoke following the case last week in Switzerland of a 64-year-old man who strangled his wife of 30 years who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
He described it as ‘an act of desperation’.
Zurich public prosecutor Andreas Brunner rejected Mr Minelli’s proposal to widen the legislation.
He said: ‘In my view, no change in the law should be sought.’
It is not the first time Mr Minelli has argued healthy people should be given the legal right to die.
Last year he said that he believed assisted suicide should be available ‘on demand’.
Mr Minelli, whose organisation has supervised the deaths of more than 100 Britons, said suicide was not just for those who were dying but ‘a marvellous possibility given to a human being’.
He has dismissed concerns that assisted suicide should be reserved for the terminally ill as a ‘British obsession’.
He looks human enough, and thus walks through crowds virtually undetected.