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Ash-filled urns found in lake near suicide clinic

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Ash-filled urns found in lake near suicide clinic


An investigation has been launched after the discovery of at least 300 cremation urns containing human remains, lying at the bottom of Lake Zurich.

Divers from the Swiss Rescue Service found them quite by chance and promptly handed them over to police for analysis.

The urns bear the logo of the Nordheim crematorium, which is used by the clinic Dignitas which is located nearby.

Switzerland’s world famous clinic is known for facilitating assisted suicides for the terminally ill and severely disabled.

Over 1,000 people are said to have made use of the organisation, but little is known of how it disposes of remains.

According to former Dignitas employee, Soraya Wernli, its founder told her that the clay urns would dissolve in water. She claims he disposed of them this way as it was too expensive to send the urns to a foreign country.

In 2008, two Dignitas employees were caught dumping ashes into the lake. At the time the founder, Ludwig Minelli, refused to comment but a former worker claimed it was common practice.

Such disposals are illegal if carried out without a permit, no matter where they turn out to have come from.

Besides any criminal consequences, the discovery has upset locals who want Zurich to be a normal tourist destination rather than be described as Europe’s suicide capital.

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