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State-assisted suicide is the use of government to commit suicide. It is usually performed by committing a capital crime and receiving a capital punishment.
State-assisted suicide was a popular method in Medieval and Enlightenment Era Scandinavia, where religion forbade suicide and suicidees were prohibited from religious burial. The usual method was to kill an infant - infanticide was a capital crime; and infants, once baptized, were considered to be pure and sinless and therefore certain to receive salvation. The death penalty, usually by beheading, gave the condemned a chance to atone his or her sins before death. This was also common in the German states of the same period; several states outlawed the practice, but to no avail.
Timothy McVeigh, who had contemplated suicide in the past, notably called his execution "state-assisted suicide." Zacarias Moussaoui also sought to kill himself through the justice system. A typical strategy for this purpose is to commit a capital offense and then refuse to plea bargain in the face of overwhelming evidence, all the while showing no remorse and making statements calculated to cause grave offense.
- Ira Glass; et al. (24 August 2012). "Episode 473-Loopholes". This American Life. WBEZ and Public Radio International. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "CNN - Breaking News, Latest News and Videos". CNN.