I don't usually post to the Philosophy & Debate forum but I'd be really interested to hear you views on this issue.:
Martin Bryant killed 35 people in Tasmania in 1996.
Since then he has been locked up in prison forever, apparently unable to be "rehabilitated" back into society.
Apparently he has made a number of attempts to kill himself.
Dr Philip Nitschke is a leading Australian "right to die" advocate. He argues Bryant's ongoing incarceration amounts to "torture" & given that he will never be released, he should have the right to kill himself, if this is what he wants.
Dr Nitschke also argues that stopping Bryant from killing himself is torture, given that he has no way out of his situation.
Should someone in Martin Bryant's situation have the "right to die", as Dr Nitschke suggests?
What responsibility should a civilized society have to a Martin Bryant?
I may not post very much in this discussion but I'll be very interested to read your responses.:
Let Bryant take own life: Dr Nitschke
June 11, 2007 - 2:42PM
Australia's worst mass murderer should be allowed to die following several attempts to kill himself in his prison cell, euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke says.
Martin Bryant is serving 35 life sentences for the 1996 killings of 35 people at Tasmania's historic Port Arthur penal settlement, in the world's worst mass murder by a lone gunman.
Bryant has made at least five suicide attempts in Tasmania's Risdon Prison and has been treated at hospital twice this year after slashing himself with disposable razor blades.
Tasmania's Director of Prisons Gramme Barber earlier this year confirmed that on one occasion Bryant secreted a blade in his body and later recovered it to slash his neck.
The murderer has also swallowed a rolled-up tube of toothpaste.
Mr Nitschke has been in Hobart to address a University of Tasmania bio-ethics forum.
He was the guiding force behind right-to-die legislation introduced by the Northern Territory in 1996. It was overturned by federal legislation the following year.
Today, Mr Nitschke said today the state had no interest in rehabilitating Bryant.
"The sole goal of his (Bryant's) imprisonment is punishment and punishment without hope of release is tantamount to torture," Dr Nitschke said.
"As a society we should admit we are sanctioning torture here and in those circumstances we should allow him to die or provide him with the means to obtain a peaceful death."
He said that giving Bryant an opportunity to end his life would quickly determine if he wants to kill himself.
"Some people claim his attempts at suicide are merely attention seeking gestures, which is possible, but providing him with the means of reliably ending his life would soon make this clear.
"As a society we go to great lengths to prevent him from being able to harm himself but in my opinion putting him in a safe stainless steel box with no hope of escape is nothing more than torture.
"As a society we should admit this is what we are doing."
Prison Action Reform spokesman Greg Barns agreed with Dr Nitschke.
"If right to die legislation was introduced prisoners like any other citizen ought to be able to utilise such legislation.
"I agree with Dr Nitschke that in the case of Martin Bryant his life behind bars amounts to torture because there is no interest in rehabilitating him."
A controversial how-to manual on killing yourself written by Dr Nitschke was banned in Australia in December 2006 and in New Zealand this week.
The Peaceful Pill Handbook was given an "objectionable" rating by the Office of Film and Literature Classification.
Censor Bill Hastings said the "well-intentioned" book was banned not for instructing people how to kill themselves, which was legal, but because it provide information on how to get away with other crimes.