A Dutch psychologist has told an interviewer from a newspaper that he gave “suicide powder” to more than 100 people and that he was speaking out in an effort to provoke debate about the Netherlands’ laws on assisted dying.
Wim van Dijk, 78, said he was unconcerned that he could be jailed over his actions and insisted that the issue needed to be aired.
“I am aware of the consequences of my story. I don’t care,” he told De Volkskrant. “I want the social unrest to become so great that the judiciary cannot ignore it. I don’t really care if they arrest me or put me in jail. I want something to happen.”
Dutch law stipulates that people can only be assisted to die by a doctor in response to a “voluntary and well-considered request” in the context of “unbearable suffering from which there is no prospect of improvement, or alternative remedy”.
Van Dijk is a member of Coöperatie Laatste Wil, or the Last Will Cooperative, which campaigns for more liberal legislation and offers advice to people who wish to end their lives.
Prosecutors are already investigating the organisation over allegations that people attending its meetings have purchased a deadly drug known as Agent X, a claim that have been denied.
Police arrested a 28-year-old man from Eindhoven in July on suspicion of selling “suicide pills” to hundreds of people. Prosecutors said at least six people died from the drug allegedly provided by the man, named only as Alex S, who was also a member of the cooperative.
Van Dijk revealed in his interview that he had suggested people attending the organisation’s meetings stay on after the moderator left so he could sell them the drug for €50 (£42) a dose.
“I have carefully provided people who want to maintain control over their own end of life with the means to end life at the time of their choice in the future,” he said. “I am a provider. I have provided Agent X to more than 100 people.”
Assisting suicide carries a maximum prison term of three years.
The chairman of Coöperatie Laatse Wil, Jos van Wijk, was arrested and detained for a day last month on suspicion of involvement in a criminal organisation.
Van Dijk told De Volkskrant he had become involved with the cooperative, which was founded in 2013, after his wife died of dementia.