Page last updated at 16:07 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 17:07 UK

Hotel blocks euthanasia workshop

Dr Philip Nitschke
Dr Nitschke held his first suicide workshop in the UK on Monday

A doctor offering workshops on how to commit suicide is searching for another venue in an East Sussex town after the hotel where he was to speak pulled out.

Euthanasia advocate Dr Philip Nitschke, who runs Exit International, was due to have appeared at the Langham Hotel, in Eastbourne, on Sunday.

But the venue has now said it will not be proceeding with the booking.

It is the third venue to cancel his workshop this week after two others in Bournemouth, Dorset, pulled out.

The Langham Hotel's general manager, Andrew Coy, said: "We have decided not to pursue the event. We are not going to declare our reasons."

It appears as if everyone is closing down the shutters on us in some bizarre situation that I've never experienced before
Dr Philip Nitschke

Eastbourne Borough Council also said it had declined an approach by Exit International to use one of its venues.

After learning of the latest ban, Australian Dr Nitschke said: "It's very convenient of the hotel to say they are keen to accept our booking and to now cancel it. It puts us in a very difficult situation.

"We have got people desperately trying to find somewhere south of London but it appears as if everyone is closing down the shutters on us in some bizarre situation that I've never experienced before.

"It's very disappointing but we don't fly back to Australia until Wednesday. Our preferred day is Sunday but if we have to do it on Monday or Tuesday, then so be it."

First doctor

Dr Nitschke said denying him access to venues was a form of censorship in a supposedly "open and free" society.

He is in the UK to promote Exit International, a voluntary euthanasia information and advocacy group.

Dr Nitschke held his first workshop in the UK in London on Monday.

He was the first doctor in the world to administer lethal injections to end four patients' lives after voluntary euthanasia was made legal in the Northern Territory of Australia in 1996.

The Australian federal government overturned the law nine months later.

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Dr Nitschke explains why he is looking to host the workshop




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