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Euthanasia Campaigner Denied Second Request For Home Detention
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 25, 2004

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND--For the second time in two months, assisted suicide campaigner Lesley Martin lost a bid to be released from jail and serve the rest of her prison term in home detention.

The Parole Board on June 30 denied her home detention request, but said it would reconsider its position once Martin accepts that it was wrong to break the law and agrees to stay away from the media. Otherwise Martin would remain in jail until her statutory release date in December.

On Wednesday, the Parole Board again refused to release Martin. Even though she agreed not to speak publicly about her actions, Martin still had not accepted that her actions were wrong, the board said.

The Board told Martin in June that it "had concerns about undue risk to the community" considering that she is in the position to influence the minds and actions of others while continuing to insist that she would "do the same again or help others do the same in the current legal environment".

The panel also said it was "unrealistic" to believe she could be rehabilitated and would stop her public campaign to make assisted suicide legal in New Zealand.

Martin, who is the founder of a pro-euthanasia group, admitted helping her 69-year-old mother, Joy, to die in May 1999. Joy Martin had rectal cancer.

Martin was convicted in April of attempted murder and given a 15-month sentence, rather than a possible 14-year sentence.

Her guilty verdict came after she wrote about her mother's death in the book "To Die Like a Dog", and led a nationwide campaign calling for New Zealand to legalize voluntary euthanasia.

Last year, Parliament rejected a bill that would have made euthanasia legal.

Disability rights groups around the world have opposed efforts to legalize assisted suicide for years. They have argued that doing so would essentially make it "open season" for people with disabilities and anyone else who is considered undesirable or a "burden" on society -- particularly at a time when the cost of health care is high. Despite legal safeguards, many of those who have been assisted to kill themselves have not been in the final stages of terminal illness.

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