Euthanasia advocate, US national and former owner of Kampot province’s Blue Mountain Cafe Roger Graham was deported on Saturday for engaging in activities that damaged Cambodia’s interests, officials said Sunday.
Graham, who had founded two Web sites promoting Cambodia as a euthanasia destination, is now on a government blacklist and will not be welcomed back, said Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.
“He was advertising to people to come to Cambodia to die. That is running counter to the civilized world,” he said.
“The Ministry of Interior, according to the law, has a right to deport every foreigner outside of Cambodia if they will damage or be a danger to the interests of Cambodia.”
Graham did not break Cambodian laws, which make no mention of euthanasia, but Khieu Sopheak said he hoped the law would be changed.
“In America he would be jailed. In other countries he would be jailed. But in Cambodia we don’t have the law, so he was only expelled,” Khieu Sopheak said.
Graham wrote by e-mail Sunday from Tokyo airport that Cambodian officials had “arrested, jailed and deported me for expressing my views on the Internet.”
Graham was arrested at 4 pm on Thursday on the orders of Deputy National Police Commissioner Sok Phal, said Kampot immigration police Chief Im Chhoun.
Khieu Sopheak said Graham was well looked after by Cambodian officials following his apprehension, but declined to elaborate.
US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle said he could not comment on the case.
Former Kampot provincial governor Puth Chandarith, who was a staunch critic of Graham’s activities, said he had tried to negotiate with Graham to prevent him from getting the boot.
“I don’t want to see anybody deported back to the States,” Puth Chandarith said. “But he put advertising on the Web site for euthanasia.”
Long time Kampot resident and US national Linda McKinney said that she was relieved to hear of Graham’s deportation.
“Kampot is better off without him,” she said.