“It’s nice that they support me, that we have the same ideals,” says Alex S. “That they, like me, also fight for self-determination. I think that’s very nice of them.”
‘Boss over your own death’
About sixty people from Support Group Dappere Burgers, led by Hans Peltenburg, wore vests and held a short demonstration on the square in front of the Den Bosch court. “What do we want? Master your own death!”, they shouted.
Peltenburg: “I am very happy that so many people have come. We want to support Alex, but also cause commotion. Ensure that something changes in politics. Because of course young people must be protected against suicide, but there are also so many people over fifty who want to have a well-considered means to take control of their own lives.”
S., a 29-year-old Eindhoven resident, is not detained, and was therefore able to watch the demonstrators prior to the trial. He told the judge that he felt fine. “I had a gastric bypass,” he says. “I lost 74 kilos.”
‘At least ten people died’
Alex S. is said to have sold a suicide drug hundreds of times from 2018 to July 2021, together with an antiemetic and an instruction on how to use the drug. According to the public prosecutor, he earned at least 90,000 euros. Today, the officer said that the indictment now states that S. assisted suicide at least ten times, which is punishable by law in the Netherlands. Ten people would therefore have died after using S. his remedy.
Relatives of two of them were present in court. With some of them no support for Alex, but tears instead. They also want the right to speak during the substantive treatment of the case, but that is prohibited in this case. S. did not know that relatives would come, he tells RTL Nieuws. How did he feel that they were visibly affected? “Bereaved relatives are often not happy, for them it feels like I have taken something away from them.”
“They hold me responsible for the death of their loved ones. But it is the responsibility of those people, they have decided to end their own lives.”
Right to self-determination
S. used the Telegram messaging service for the sale. The Ministry of Justice previously indicated that it had seen the reports of this, and that it would have produced ‘a shocking and evil picture’. But those messages also made it clear why S. sold the drug. “The suspect is a champion of the right to self-determination. According to him, everyone should be able to end his life by means of a suicide drug.”
And that was also the position of the dozens of demonstrators in court this morning. Still, S. is ‘uncertain about the future’, he says. “I’m doing well now. I go to school, meet people. But I look at the substantive treatment of the case with great uncertainty. I don’t know what to expect from the verdict.”
S. has to appear again on July 3 and 4, then the sentence of the Public Prosecution Service will follow.
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