The decision of the Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs to launch prosecution against a 61 year old Melbourne woman charging her with importation of “a marketable quantity” of the euthanasia drug Pentabarbitone (Nembutal) an example of the increased harassment of elderly Australians seeking end of life choice.
The AFP have claimed the cancer sufferer imported a “marketable” quantity of Nembutal and that the penalty for such an offence is 25 years imprisonment or $550,000.
Speaking from Darwin Exit director Dr Philip Nitschke said the charge was ludicrous.
“Elderly people bring in one or two bottles of the drug for their own possible personal use. Each bottle contains 6gm of the drug Pentabarbitone (Nembutal) and 94 gm of water. To claim that importing 6gm in a bottle is the same as the importation of 100gm of the drug defies logic.
“One bottle has 6 gm of the drug, not the 100gm claimed, and well under the 50gm “marketable” limit.
“This police tactic is designed to mislead and frighten elderly people who have done little more that seek the option of a personal end of life choice.
Dr Nitschke said there had been a number of incidents in recent months that have targeted members of the Exit International voluntary euthanasia organisation. These include raids on the group’s Melbourne office, drug searches on several properties, and the questioning of a number of members of the organisation in several states.
“This appears to be deliberate policy of harassment orchestrated at the highest level, since the police actions fit clearly with current Federal thinking on the issue. The message being sent by the government is that any attempt to privately seek a method of a peaceful death will be met with the most savage penalties from the State.
Australian Prime Minister Rudd said recently on national television that he had no interest in changing Federal laws on voluntary euthanasia.