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Assisted suicides increase in 2010

Assisted suicide organisation Exit helped 257 people to die in 2010, an increase of 15 per cent over the 2009 total of 217 assisted deaths.

The organisation, which has a branch in both the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland, saw its overall membership rise by 4,000 to 70,000 people.

Those who avail themselves of Exit’s services must first become members.

Exit said the rise in membership was a response to moves by both local and national authorities for tighter controls over assisted suicide services.

The group said it had received 421 requests for assistance in 2010.

The average age of people who ended their lives by assisted suicide in 2010 was 76, compared with an average age of 74 in 2009, Exit said.

Exit, which only caters for Swiss residents, is one of two groups offering assisted suicide services in Switzerland. The other, Dignitas, has not released statistics on its services, which are also open to foreigners.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR