Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Melchert-Dinkel Assisted Suicide Conviction upheld in Minnesota

Nadia Kajouji
The Associated Press has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the conviction for assisted suicide of William Melchert-Dinkel, the former Minnesota nurse and internet suicide predator, who scanned suicide prevention chat rooms with the intention of establishing an online relationship that would enable him, in the end, to watch the person commit suicide.

Court documents show that Melchert-Dinkel searched online for depressed people then, posing as a female nurse, he provided step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves.

Link to the article concerning the conviction of William Melchert-Dinkel.

Mark Drybrough
The lawyers for Melchert-Dinkel appealed the conviction and prison term of six years for assisting the suicides of Canadian university student - Nadia Kajouji and 32 year-old Mark Drybrough of Coventry England by claiming Melchert-Dinkel was only exercising his right to free speech.

The Minnesota appeals court disagreed stating that the First Amendment does not bar the state from prosecuting someone for "instructing (suicidal people) on how to kill themselves and coaxing them to do so."

The argument by the appeals court was similar to the previous argument that was made by the prosecutor.

Link to the article concerning William Melchert-Dinkel and free speech.

Terry Watkins, the lawyer for Melchert-Dinkel, also argued that his client didn't talk anyone into suicide instead he offered emotional support to two people who had already decided to commit suicide.

The prosecutor, Attorney Benjamin Bejar argued that Melchert-Dinkel wasn't advocating suicide in general, but he had a targeted plan to lure people to kill themselves. Bejar argued that Melchert-Dinkel convinced his victims to do something they might not have done without him.

The prosecutors stated that they were pleased with the decision by the Minnesota Court of Appeals upholding the conviction of Melchert-Dinkel.

Marc Kajouji, Nadia's brother told Michelle Zilio of the Ottawa Citizen that the court’s decision to uphold the conviction of Melchert-Dinkel, was: 
“nice to hear. The point is that it remained consistent with the original decision. But it’s not going to bring my sister back. ... It’s not a very stern penalty to say the least.”
William Melchert-Dinkel
The lawyer for Melchert-Dinkel indicated to the Ottawa Citizen that they were planning to appeal the decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is pleased by the decision to uphold Melchert-Dinkel's conviction. We know that Melchert-Dinkel is one of many online-suicide predators.

Link to an article about other suicide predators that are active on the internet.

Assisted suicide laws need to be upheld and they needs to ensure that people who establish an online relationship with others for the purpose of suicide, whether it be for voyeurism, or "false compassion" can be prosecuted for counseling suicide.

In the case of Nadia Kajouji, she was an 18 year-old first year university student who was depressed. Nadia's circumstance was not uncommon. It was Nadia's relationship with Melchert-Dinkel that turned a deep depression into a tragic suicide. The law needs to protect people like Nadia Kajouji.

The findings of fact, conclusions of law, order for judgement and Memorandum (March 15, 2011).

Link to the Fifth Estate news program - Justice for Nadia.

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