Euthanasia or premeditated murder? Professor Davidson faces fresh charge

A South African-based, New Zealand-born professor who is the founder and director of a euthanasia advocacy group, Dignity South Africa, faces his second charge for premeditated murder, The Weekend Argus reports.

Sean Davidson “assisted” Justin Varian, who had motor neuron disease in ending his life in July 2015.

Davidson was arrested at his Pinelands home two years before this for administering “a lethal amount of drugs” that led to the death of a friend, Anrich Burger. Burger was a quadriplegic following a car crash.

According to Davidson, Varian begged for advice on how to end his life. Davidson said he had a video in which Varian expressed his desire to die.

Davidson first earned media attention for what he described as the assisted suicide of his terminally-ill mother, Dr Patricia Ferguson, in New Zealand in 2010. He served five months under house arrest after pleading guilty to assisted suicide.

Davidson said he cannot comment on the most recent murder charge for legal reasons.

Davison told the Argus in an email: “I do have a story to tell. I am going to give a voice to something that needs to be heard, something that is crying out to be heard. But now is not the time.”

Davidson is not only the founder of Dignity South Africa but also the president of the World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies, both of which campaign for the decriminalisation of voluntary euthanasia.

He has authored a book, Before We Say Goodbye, on the three months prior to his mother’s death.

While still controversial, the idea that people should be able to legally choose to end their lives is not without support.

A 2017 Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans support euthanasia. Similar polls have found that people in New Zealand and Australia also mostly support the right of people to choose to be euthanised.

Famous people who have expressed support for euthanasia include comedian and filmmaker Ricky Gervais, late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, and late fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett, who lobbied for a tribunal looking into the individual cases of those who wished to die, prior to his own death.

Despite his expression of his desire for an assisted suicide, Pratchett, who had Alzheimer’s, was reported as having died from natural causes.

Read original story on citizen.co.za

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