Over the next three classes, we are going to be examining the Nadia Kajouji case. For those of you who are not aware of this case, few years ago, Carleton University student named Nadia Kajouji went missing from her dorm room. She left behind her jacket, wallet, money and all her belonging. The local police launched a massive search for Ms. Kajouji until her body was eventually found weeks later in the Rideau River - she had committed suicide. Over the next several months the story surrounding Ms. Kajouji's death grew more ominous. Her parents revealed to the media that their daughter had been chatting online about her mounting depression and that she had had several conversations with a supposed twenty year old woman about how to commit suicide - even detailing what type of rope to use for hanging. The particularly concerning part is that it was later discovered that the twenty year old woman who had been chatting with Ms. Kajouji was actually a 46 year old male nurse from Minnesota. Minnesota authorities are looking into what would be a precedent-setting arrest of someone committing the crime of assisted suicide over the internet.
I have attached several news articles about Ms. Kajouji and her case for you to watch and read. I encourage you to seek out other information about the case as well.
Below are questions that you should consider in advance of our discussion.
1. What are the facts of the Kajouji case?
The facts are: • Kajouji, a depressed Carleton University student, went missing March 9, 2008. • She told the man she didn't want to shoot, cut, or hang herself, explaining it would be too hard on her parents to find her like that, he said. • Nadia told the man she was going to wait until after 10 p.m. when bridge traffic died down, tell her next door neighbour she was going skating, put her skates on and jump off a bridge behind Carleton University into the Rideau River. • She wanted her death to appear accidental, her father Mohamad Kajouji said. • struggled with an unplanned pregnancy, a miscarriage, a crushing breakup, and escalating mental health problems in the months leading up to her death, • Police believe the person Nadia was communicating with is a male nurse in Minnesota. Cami D. has been linked to at least eight other suicides in several countries. • Kajouji wrote that she ultimately chose to make her suicide look like a skating accident to make it easier on family and friends.
2. What are the facts of the Melchert-Dinkle case? • When detectives interviewed Melchert-Dinkel at his house in January 2009, with his family members present, he openly admitted to asking 15 to 20 people if he could watch while they committed suicide and estimated that he assisted five or fewer people in following through with their plans. • Police later collected evidence from his computer hard drive that pointed to Melchert-Dinkel's direct involvement in the deaths of a Canadian woman in 2008 and an English man in 2005 — enough evidence, they believed, to bring a trial under Minnesota's assisted-suicide statute. • In March, Third District Court Judge Thomas Neuville found Melchert-Dinkel guilty on two counts of violating Minnesota's assisted-suicide statute, labeling his communications "lethal advocacy," which he said was analogous to a category of unprotected speech known as fighting words. •
3. What is assisted suicide?
Assisted suicide is the common term for actions by which an individual helps another person voluntarily brings about his or her own death. "Assistance" may mean providing one with the means (drugs or equipment) to end one's own life, but may extend to other actions.
4. Why is assisted suicide considered a crime?
Assisted suicide is considered a crime in Canada because suicide itself isn’t a crime but assisting suicide is a crime. In Canada the punishment is 14 years imprisonment for anybody assisting suicide