Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Euthanasia Promoter Faces Imprisonment In Cambodia

American Euthanasia Promoter Faces Imprisonment In Cambodia


by Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- An American facing possible expulsion or imprisonment for creating a Web site luring suicidal people to die in Cambodia, said he made no money from his morbid venture and did it after failing to convince a California town to legalize euthanasia.

"I did not start this to make money, I did it because I believe in a person's right to choose the time, place, and manner of their own death," Roger Graham, a former California resident, said in an e-mail interview from his base in Kampot, Cambodia.

"I have made zero dollars off my Web site," Graham said.

"I am semi-retired at 57 years, although I do operate a small coffee and internet cafe in Kampot, Cambodia," he said, referring to a tourist-friendly, coastal town about 80 miles southwest from Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

"I lived most recently in the (United) States, in Paradise, California. I had an antique shop and sold on eBay, the Internet auction site.

"While in Paradise, California, I founded the Assisted Euthanasia Society of Paradise, and made an attempt at having the city council of Paradise pass an ordinance authorizing a peaceful and painless death. They declined."

Cambodian authorities said they do not want their impoverished Southeast Asian nation to gain a reputation as a great place to die.

Cambodia is trying to emerge from its gruesome history as the "killing fields" of Pol Pot's 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime, which killed more than one million people.

International tourists currently flock to Cambodia to view the ancient, slave-built Angkor Wat temple complex amid jungles in the northwest.

"To take the Web site down now is too late," Kampot Provincial Governor Puth Chandarith told the German news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, on Sunday (Nov. 6).

"We will continue the case before the court. We believe the Web site destroyed the honor of Kampot by being there at all.

"Whether he is made to leave the country, or go to jail, is up to the court, but the case is at the court now and it must be heard by the court," the governor said.

"I've had the Web site for a year or so," Graham said in the interview on Sunday (Nov. 6).

Asked about the number of suicidal people who arrived in Cambodia after viewing his Web site, Graham replied: "I have assisted no one with their self-deliverance.

"I have had maybe 100 or so people e-mail me with requests for info, but no pre-arranged arrivals."

Graham created the Web site because "I live here, and it [euthanasia] isn't illegal.

"Expenses involved have been minimal. Listing with Google 'adwords' at about 30 U.S. dollars per month, is most of it."

After www.euthanasiaincambodia.com attracted complaints from Cambodian officials, Graham replaced it a few days ago with a page which said only: "This site is under construction."

But Google allows searchers to access a "cache" of the original site, displaying Graham's effort to convince people to die in Cambodia.

"If You are Considering Taking Control of Your Life by Choosing the Time, Place, and Manner of Your Death Then I Would Like to Recommend that You Visit Cambodia," the Web site's headline said.

"You are going to die anyway, so why not in Cambodia?"

But people should not kill themselves immediately upon arrival.

"There are many pretty girls here and they'll actually speak to you and be honestly glad that you will speak with them," the site said.

Grittier advice includes: "Please do not take an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. It is a slow, painful, agonizing, and uncertain death."

The site allows purchase of Derek Humphrey's "Final Exit" and other books, plus a PayPal link for donations "to Euthanasia in Cambodia."

Graham would not kill.

"If you come to visit me here in Cambodia, I am not going to pull any switches. If all you want to do is kill yourself, do it at home. I am offering you an alternative end-of-life experience, not a suicide pact," his site said.

"I will help you to enjoy what is left of your life. I will help you to visit local Buddhist monasteries and pagodas. I will help you to find the right place for you to be cremated and I will see to the dispersal of your ashes."

His help cost money.

"I will expect you to be able to contribute at least 25,000 U.S. dollars to a local charity, aid organization, or directly into the local economy. Other expenses should be expected," he told viewers of his Web site.

*************

Richard S. Ehrlich, a freelance journalist who has reported news from Asia for the past 27 years, is co-author of the non-fiction book, "HELLO MY BIG BIG HONEY!" -- Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews. His web page is http://www.geocities.com/asia_correspondent/


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: The Major Questions Doctrine: The US Supreme Court Blunts The EPA
The US Supreme Court has been frantically busy of late, striking down law and legislation with an almost crazed, ideological enthusiasm. Gun laws have been invalidated; Roe v Wade and constitutional abortion rights, confined to history. And now, the Environmental Protection Agency has been clipped of its powers in a 6-3 decision.
The June 30 decision of West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency was something of a shadow boxing act... More>>


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Dunne Speaks: "Let's Get Wellington Moving" Yeah, Right
There was great excitement in Wellington recently when the government finally announced – after much procrastination and indecision – its intentions for the ever so over-optimistically titled “Let’s Get Wellington Moving” plan... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>