Dutch man killed ex-minister 'over euthanasia,' court told

The Hague (AFP) –


A Dutch man accused of murdering a former health minister has admitted to the killing, saying he was on a "divine mission" because of her role in legalising euthanasia, Dutch media said Thursday.

Els Borst, who as health minister from 1994 to 2002 helped the Netherlands become the world's first country to legalise doctor-assisted death, was found with multiple stab wounds in her garage in February 2014. She was 81.

Her alleged assailant, who has been only identified as Bart van U. because of Dutch privacy concerns, unexpectedly confessed at a closed-door hearing in Rotterdam, saying he was a man on a "divine mission", public newscaster NOS reported.

Until now he had remained silent on the murder that shocked the Netherlands, in particular members of Borst's progressive D66 political party.

Coming from a conservative Christian background, Bart van U. has also already confessed to killing his sister, Dutch national news agency ANP said.

Borst, a medical doctor, was known for her progressive and liberal positions on health care.

Direct euthanasia has been legal since April 2002 in the Netherlands. Under the legislation patients can request the administration of lethal doses of a drug if they are mentally lucid.

They must also be suffering from an incurable condition and must show that they have endured unbearable suffering.

The Netherlands has also authorised euthanasia for children younger than 12 under strict conditions.

Euthanasia under close medical supervision is increasingly popular as a way to end life in the Netherlands, where nearly 4,000 people undertook the practice in 2012.