The Dutch police arrested on Wednesday the president of an association advocating the right to die with dignity, suspected of being involved in the offense of assisted suicide, we learned from the prosecution and the organization. Jos van Wijk is the head of the association “Coopérative Dernier Volonté” (CLW), which advocates for the right of individuals to end their lives without the help of doctors or the authorities.

However, if the Netherlands became in 2002 the first country to authorize euthanasia, it remains very strictly regulated. “A 73-year-old man from Apeldoorn was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of being involved in assisted suicide,” Dutch prosecutors said in a statement, without giving a name.

The president of the association “categorically denies” the accusations

His house in Apeldoorn (center) as well as another property in the Netherlands were searched Tuesday, they added, adding: “The man is suspected in particular of participation in a criminal organization whose object is to commit and / or plan the offense of assisted suicide ”. The association and Mr van Wijk’s lawyer have confirmed his arrest. “The CLW regrets that the prosecution has decided to arrest its president,” said the organization. “Since its creation in 2013, the CLW has acted in conscience and in compliance with the law,” she added.

Mr. van Wijk “categorically denies” the accusations, said his lawyer Tim Vis, denouncing a measure “incredibly drastic”. The CLW, which claims to have more than 26,500 members, aims to enable “citizens to end their lives in a dignified and safe manner, when they wish, in accordance with the legal framework”. According to Dutch media, a member of this organization from Eindhoven (south) was arrested in July in connection with the death of six people to whom he allegedly supplied a lethal substance.

The association has since disrupted its members’ home meetings over fears they could be used to make deals to buy the substance, state broadcaster NOS reported. Euthanasia is strictly regulated in the Netherlands. The patient must be lucid when making the request and must experience excruciating suffering because of a disease deemed incurable by at least two doctors. Euthanasia can only be performed by a physician who administers a lethal dose of an approved drug, while patients can take the drug only if it has been provided by a physician.

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