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Suicide workshop survives cancellation

Oct. 25, 2009 at 10:04 PM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A Vancouver church will host a right-to-die workshop after the Canadian city's public library canceled the event, officials confirm.

The Rev. Steven Epperson of the Unitarian Church of Vancouver said Dr. Philip Nitschke, who heads a pro-euthanasia group, has the right to free speech, even if he's telling people how to end their lives.

"Historically, we have provided a forum, a space, for controversial, difficult ideas to be presented," Epperson told The Province .

The church will host the workshop Nov. 4, the Vancouver newspaper said.

Nitschke, 62, is an Australian who carried out the world's first legal assisted suicides in the 1990s. He has held similar workshops in New Zealand, Britain, China and Australia.

The workshop had been scheduled for September at the main downtown library, but lawyers warned of civil and criminal liability. In Canada, it is a crime to counsel, aid or abet suicide, punishable by a 14-year prison term.

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