General: Right-to-die activist urges law change

The time has come to change the law, right-to-die activist Professor Sean Davison said on the steps of the Western Cape High Court, which marked the end of his house arrest. ‘I have done my time. But I did not commit a crime,’ he said, according to a News24 report. ‘I helped three men to die, three men suffering unbearably with no hope of recovery. Three men desperate to die, and three men incapable of ending their own lives. For that, the court finds me a murderer. I am not a murderer. I'm not a criminal. The time has come to change the law, to have a good law, a law that is compassionate and kind and does not confuse euthanasia with murder,’ he said.

Judge President John Hlophe in 2019 sentenced Davison to three years house arrest, finding there were compelling circumstances to deviate from jailing him for assisting in the death of Dr Anrich Burger, Justin Varian, and Richard Holland. Davison had entered a plea and sentencing agreement and was handed eight years in prison, fully suspended. He was prohibited from talking to the media and was required to complete 16 hours of community service a month, which he spent cleaning holding cell toilets and the floors of a correctional services building. Davison was found guilty of administering a lethal concoction to Anrich Burger, a quadriplegic who could not travel to Switzerland for assisted death. ‘It's time they (politicians) realized the suffering in our country and start engaging in the debate, the discussion and doing something about changing the law. Other countries around the world are changing it.’

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