Euthanasia advocate plans death clinic

2012-08-24 13:02
Euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke in Sydney in August 2007. (AFP, File)

Euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke in Sydney in August 2007. (AFP, File)

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Sydney - Prominent Australian right-to-die campaigner Philip Nitschke said on Friday he wants to set up an assisted suicide clinic in Fiji and the government in Suva was seriously considering it.

Nitschke, a doctor who has campaigned on euthanasia issues for more than a decade, wants it to operate like the Dignitas centre in Switzerland, where 144 people ended their lives in 2011, virtually all of them foreigners.

Nitschke, head of Exit International, told the Sydney Morning Herald it would make it easier for people from the Asia-Pacific who wanted to end their lives to do so, rather than having to travel to Europe.

"Given the logistical problems faced by those in the Asia-Pacific travelling to Europe when seriously ill, Exit would suggest that a mirror clinic is well warranted in this region of the world," he said.

He said he had written to Fiji's attorney-general who had asked for more details, and hopes his organisation can go to the Pacific nation to discuss the idea.

"The reality is that it's a very humane process, and a country which shows some compassion and concern for its neighbours, I think would entertain such ideas," he said in a separate interview with ABC radio.

Assisted suicide, or euthanasia, is illegal in most countries around the world and is banned in Australia, although it was legal for a time in the Northern Territory before the law was overturned in the 1990s.

When it was legal in the Northern Territory, Nitschke became the first doctor in the world to administer a legal, voluntary, lethal injection to end a life, and he went on to do the same for three other people.

He said only seriously ill patients found by a psychiatrist to be of sound mind would be permitted to use the service proposed in Fiji, a predominantly Christian nation.

Read more on:    australia  |  fiji
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