'Dr Death' runs for Congress

Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, known as "Doctor Death" for helping more than 100 people end their lives, said yesterday he will run for the US Congress.

The 79-year-old pathologist announced his bid to run as an independent less than a year after being released from prison where he served eight years for second-degree murder.

"I have no ties, no fetters. I am free," Kevorkian told reporters, adding that he planned to run against the "tyranny" of the US Supreme Court which he said has robbed Americans of their rights.

In the 1990s Kevorkian became one of the most prominent and polarizing figures in the debate over euthanasia by assisting in some 130 suicides and for his outspoken advocacy of the "right to die."

Kevorkian, who was paroled in 2007, said he will run as an independent for a congressional seat representing the Detroit suburbs, near the area where he presided at dozens of suicides in cheap hotel rooms and the back of his rusty van.

He was convicted after a CBS news program aired a video showing Kevorkian administering lethal drugs to a 52-year-old man suffering from debilitating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

His candidacy will pit Kevorkian against Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg and Democrat Gary Peters in Michigan's 9th District, which includes the upscale suburbs of Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham. Political analysts rate the race between the two main candidates could be close.

Kevorkian had been required to gather 3,000 voter signatures on a petition in order to qualify for the ballot.

As a condition of his parole, Kevorkian vowed not to assist with any suicides although he said he would continue to lobby for the legalization of assisted suicide in the United States.

In 1997, Oregon became the only US state to legalize doctor-assisted suicide. Efforts to pass similar measures in other states including Michigan and Hawaii have failed.