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Nurse arrested after deaths of nine patients

At least nine patients have been killed at the home

(Keystone)

A nurse has been arrested in Switzerland after he admitted killing nine elderly women in an old people's home in Lucerne. The man said he acted out of compassion for his patients.

Orvo Nieminen, the investigating judge, has so far refused to reveal any information about how the women died. However, he disclosed that the nurse was a young Swiss who had only been working at the home for a short time.

An investigation was launched following the deaths of 10 patients at the home in just a few months. The initial inquiry failed to produce any results, but after a further two deaths in June, the nurse was arrested.

Inquiries are also under way to find out whether the nurse might be responsible for deaths in other parts of Switzerland.

News of the deaths came to light on the same day that a parliamentary commission voted by 11 votes to eight that, in certain cases, active euthanasia should no longer be a criminal offence.

The commission was particularly concerned about cases where patients were suffering from incurable and terminal illnesses and where someone was seeking to put an end to their pain and suffering.

The majority of the commission's members added that it was time the law addressed the issue of active euthanasia in order to eliminate any grey areas and the potential for abuse.

However opponents to the recommendation said it should not be left to any person to decide between life and death.

Active euthanasia is outlawed in Switzerland but the country does not regard it as a crime if a doctor assists in suicides by prescribing lethal drugs that patients close to death take themselves to end their suffering.

swissinfo with agencies

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