Australia’s euthanasia campaigner detained in Britain

May 3rd, 2009 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, May 3 (DPA) Australian euthanasia campaigner Phillip Nitschke was detained for several hours before being allowed entry to Britain to give “suicide tutorials”, news reports said Sunday.
Nitschke, 61, told the Australian broadcaster ABC that he had been held at London’s Heathrow Airport for nine hours before being given permission to stay in the country for seven days.

“It’s quite a shock and it’s not very pleasant, and I guess we would have liked to have had some warning,” he said.

It was the first time the founder of the euthanasia lobby group Exit International had been questioned about his activities in Britain.

Nitschke presided over the world’s first legal lethal injection in 1996 and helped in the suicides of four people before a law allowing assisted suicides was repealed by the Canberra parliament.

He said immigration authorities, who had warned him about breaking the law during his stay, would not permit him access to a lawyer.

“We were told that was not an option, we had no right to have a lawyer present as this was immigration law not criminal law,” he said.

Suicide is not illegal in Britain, but encouraging people to take their own lives is, as it is in Australia as well.

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