Should the criminal law punish inciting suicide ?

By Omar Ruiz-Diaz

A case that’s currently shocking #Paraguay has to do with mental health, domestic harassment, and the toxic environment that the victim let incubate and grow dangerously for a long time. A young mother decides to jump from a precarious bridge with her two little children into a powerful current of a river in the eastern region of the country.

The bodies of the 34-year-old notary and her 5-year-old son have already been rescued downstream. The search to find the remains of her 3-year-old daughter has intensified in recent hours.

Last night a mob attacked the family of the husband who died from Covid-19 four years ago. It seems that since then her tribulations have deepened and her mental health has deteriorated in a turbulent spiral until this tragic end.

The poor desperate soul jumped into the torrent, dragging her two children with her. Action that generated an intense debate on social media. Was it an act of love, as revealed in the content of the many messages she left or was it a cruel and selfish determination to end the lives of her innocent children without any justification ?

One thing is clear and conclusive: she has been under intense abusive pressure from her mother-in-law and her adult children who resided to her left and right, wall to wall like a true existential pincer.

Seconds before jumping into the water, the woman sends a chilling audio recording that captures the girl’s voice “Look how big the pool is!”, before the communication is cut off forever. The car running, with the windshield wiping away the raindrops, like a mute witness to the tragedy.

Incitement or induction to suicide is a possible criminal figure that the Prosecutor’s Office is considering instrumentalizing, possibly next week, in addition to the domestic violence that was reported by the now deceased. Should the criminal law punish inciting suicide?

In this sense, I have searched for reading material on the Internet and what I found is worth sharing with you and seeing if it is applicable in Paraguayan law.

If you have the time and patience to read it, here you go.

https://www.law.georgetown.edu/american-criminal-law-review/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2019/01/56-1-The-Puzzle-of-Inciting-Suicide.pdf

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