Suicide legislation

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Suicide is a crime in some parts of the world.[1] However, while suicide has been decriminalized in some western countries, the act is still stigmatized and discouraged. In other contexts, suicide could be utilized as an extreme expression of liberty, as is exemplified by its usage as an expression of devout dissent towards perceived tyranny or injustice which occurred occasionally in cultures like Ancient Rome or medieval Japan.

While a person who has died by suicide is beyond the reach of the law, there can still be legal consequences in the cases of treatment of the corpse or the fate of the person's property or family members. The associated matters of assisting a suicide and attempting suicide have also been dealt with by the laws of some jurisdictions. Some countries criminalise suicide attempts.

Historically, laws against suicide and mercy killing have developed from religious doctrine, for example, the claim that only God has the right to determine when a person will die.

History[edit]

In ancient Athens, a person who had died by suicide (without the approval of the state) was denied the honours of a normal burial. The person would be buried alone, on the outskirts of the city, without a headstone or marker.[2] A criminal ordinance issued by Louis XIV in 1670 was far more severe in its punishment: the dead person's body was drawn through the streets, face down, and then hung or thrown on a garbage heap. Additionally, all of the person's property was confiscated.[3]

The 'Burial of Suicide Act' of 1823 abolished the legal requirement in England of burying suicides at crossroads.[4][5]

Even in modern times, legal penalties for the act of suicide have not been uncommon. By 1879, English law had begun to distinguish between suicide and homicide, though suicide still resulted in forfeiture of estate. Also, the deceased were permitted daylight burial in 1882.[citation needed]

Assisted suicide[edit]

In many jurisdictions it is a crime to assist others, directly or indirectly, in taking their own lives. In some jurisdictions, it is also illegal to encourage them to do so. Sometimes an exception applies for physician assisted suicide (PAS), under strict conditions.

Laws in individual jurisdictions (table)[edit]

Africa[edit]

Country/region De jure Penalty Notes
Suicide Assisted suicide Euthanasia
 Algeria Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Angola Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 141. (Instigation or help to murder)
  1. Whoever instigates another person to commit suicide and this is consummated or actually tried shall be punished with imprisonment penalty up to 3 years.
  2. Whoever, in the same circumstances, is limited to provide assistance to the person who decided to commit suicide shall be punished with imprisonment up to 2 years or a fine of up to 240 days.
[6]
 Botswana Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 207. Suicide pacts

(1) It shall be manslaughter, and shall not be murder, for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another to kill the other or be a party to the other killing himself or being killed by a third person.
(2) Where it is shown that a person charged with the murder of another killed the other or was a party to his killing himself or being killed, it shall be for the defence to prove that the person charged was acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and the other.
(3) For the purposes of this section, "suicide pact" means a common agreement between two or more persons having for its object the death of all of them, whether or not each is to take his own life, but nothing done by a person who enters into a suicide pact shall be treated as done by him in pursuance of the pact unless it is done while he has the settled intention of dying in pursuance of the pact.

Article 222. Aiding suicide
Any person who
(a) procures another to kill himself;
(b) counsels another to kill himself and thereby induces him to do so; or
(c) aids another in killing himself,

is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life.

[7]
 Burundi Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Cameroon Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 275. Murder
Whoever causes another's death shall be punished with imprisonment for life.
[8]
 Cape Verde Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Central African Republic Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Comoros Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Egypt Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 47.
The felonies whereof the attempt is liableto punishment and also the penalty for that attempt shall be legally defined.
[9][10]
 Equatorial Guinea Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Eritrea Legal Illegal Illegal
Art. 280. -Assisting Suicide.

(1) A person who, for any selfish or base motive, intentionally helps, advises or incites another person to commit suicide, is, where the suicide is attempted, guilty of assisting suicide, a Class 9 serious offence, punishable with a definite term of imprisonment of not less than 1 year and not more than 3 years. (2) Where death results from a person‟s actions under sub-Article (1), or knew that the person who attempted to commit suicide is partially or completely irresponsible, sick or a minor person, is guilty of assisting suicide, a Class 8 serious offence, punishable with a definite term of imprisonment of not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years.

[11]
 Ethiopia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Gabon Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Gambia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Ghana Illegal Illegal Illegal
Section 57—Abetment of Suicide. Attempted Suicide.
(1) Whoever abets the commission of suicide by any person shall whether or not the suicide be actually committed, be guilty of first degree felony. 

(2) Whoever attempts to commit suicide shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

[12]
 Guinea-Bissau Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Kenya Illegal Illegal Illegal
209. Suicide pacts

(1) It shall be manslaughter, and shall not be murder, for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another to kill the other or be a party to the other killing himself or being killed by a third person. (2) Where it is shown that a person charged with the murder of another killed the other or was a party to his killing himself or being killed, it shall be for the defence to prove that the person charged was acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and the other. (3) For the purposes of this section, “suicide pact” means a common agreement between two or more persons having for its object the death of all of them, whether or not each is to take his own life, but nothing done by a person who enters into a suicide pact shall be treated as done by him in pursuance of the pact unless it is done while he has the settled intention of dying in pursuance of the pact.

225. Aiding suicide

Any person who—

(a) procures another to kill himself; or
(b) counsels another to kill himself and thereby induces him to do so; or
(c) aids another in killing himself,

is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.

226. Attempting suicide

Any person who attempts to kill them self is guilty of a misdemeanour.

 Lesotho Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Libya Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Malawi Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Mauritius Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Morocco Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Mozambique Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Namibia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Niger Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Nigeria Illegal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Republic of the Congo Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Rwanda Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Senegal Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Seychelles Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Somalia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 South Africa Legal Illegal Illegal
Art. 525.-Instigating or Aiding another to commit Suicide.

(1) Whosoever, for any selfish or any base motive, instigates another to commit suicide, or aids and abets him to do so, is punishable with simple imprisonment of where the suicide is attempted bot not consumated, and with simple imprisonment from one to five years where it is accomplished. (2) Where the person who has committed suicide is partially or completely irresponsible, or had not attained the age of 18 years, the punishment is rigorous imprisonment not exceeding ten years.

[13]
 South Sudan Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 213. Abetment of Suicide.
Subject to the provisions of section 214 of this Act, whoever abets any person to commit suicide, commits the offence of abetment of suicide, and upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or with a fine or with both.
Article 214. Abetment of Suicide by an Child or an Insane Person.

Whoever, abets any person under eighteen years of age, any insane person, delirious person, an idiot or any person in a state of intoxication, to commit suicide, commits an offence, and upon conviction, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life or with a fine or with both.

Article 215. Attempt to Commit Suicide.
Whoever, attempts to or engages in any act towards committing suicide,  commits  an  offence,  and  upon  conviction,  shall  be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year orwith a fine or with both.
[14]
 Sudan Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Swaziland Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Tanzania Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 216. Aiding suicide
Any person who—
(1) procures another to kill himself; or
(2) counsels another to kill himself and thereby induces him to do

so; or

(3) aids another in killing himself,

is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

Article 217. Attempting suicide.
Any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty a misdemeanour.
[15]
 Togo Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Tunisia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Uganda Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 195. Suicide pacts.
It shall be manslaughter and shall not be murder for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him or her and another to kill the other or be a party to the other killing himself or herself or being killed by a third person.
Article 209. Aiding suicide.

Any person who—
procures another to kill himself or herself;
counsels another to kill himself or herself and thereby induces him or her to do so; or (c) aids another in killing himself or herself, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment for life.

Article 210. Attempting suicide.
Any person who attempts to kill himself or herself commits a misdemeanour.
[16]
 Western Sahara Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Zambia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 200. Murder
Any  person  who  of  malice  aforethought causes the death of another person by an unlawful act or omission is guilty of murder.
[17]
 Zimbabwe Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 50. Inciting or assisting suicide
Any person who incites, induces, aids, counsels, procures or provides the means for the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, knowing that the other person intends to commit suicide or realising that there is a real risk or possibility that the other person may commit suicide, shall be guilty of inciting or assisting suicide and liable to a fine up to or exceeding level fourteen, or imprisonment for life or any shorter period, or both such fine and such imprisonment.
[18]

Americas[edit]

Country/region De jure Penalty Notes
Suicide Assisted suicide Euthanasia
 Anguilla Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 158. Abetment of suicide

(1) Any person who aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another, or the attempt by another to commit suicide, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.

Article 159. Suicide pacts

(1) It shall be manslaughter and not murder for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another person to kill the other person or to be a party to that other person killing himself or being killed by a third person.

[19]
 Antigua and Barbuda Legal Illegal Illegal
 Argentina Legal Illegal Passive euthanasia legal [20][21]
 Bahamas Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 294. Abetment of suicide.

Whoever attempts to commit suicide is guilty of a misdemeanour, and whoever abets the commission of suicide by any person shall, whether or not the suicide be actually committed, be liable to imprisonment for life.

[22]
 Barbados Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Belize Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 109. Abetment of suicide.

Every person who abets the commission of suicide by any person shall, whether or not the suicide be actually committed, be liable to imprisonment for twenty years.

[23]
 Bermuda Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 297. Suicide pacts

(1) It is manslaughter and not murder for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another to kill the other or be a party to the killing himself or being killed by a third person.

Article 300. Aiding suicide of another

Any person—

who procures another person to kill himself; or
who counsels another person to kill himself and thereby induces him to do so; or
who aids another person in killing himself,

is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for ten years.

[24]
 Bolivia Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Brazil Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 122. Induction, instigation or suicide aid.

Penal Code - Law Decree nº 2.848 December 07 1940
Induce or instigate someone to commit suicide or to help him to do so.

  • Penalty - imprisonment, from two to six years, if the suicide is consumed; or imprisonment, from one to three years, if a suicide attempt results in a serious bodily injury.
    • Sole paragraph - The penalty is doubled:
  • Increased penalty
    • I - if the crime is committed for selfish motive;
    • II - if the victim is less or has decreased, for any reason, the capacity of resistance.
  • Infanticide
[25]

[26]

 British Virgin Islands Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Canada Legal Legal medical assisted suicide Legal Euthanasia in Canada [27][28]
 Cayman Islands Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 187. Suicide pacts

(1) It shall be manslaughter and not murder for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another to kill the other or to be a party to the other killing himself or being killed by a third person.

[29]
 Chile Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Colombia Unknown Legal medical assisted suicide Legal Unknown
 Costa Rica Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Cuba Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Dominican Republic Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Ecuador Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 El Salvador Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Falkland Islands Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Grenada Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Guatemala Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Guyana Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Haiti Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Honduras Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Jamaica Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Mexico Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Nicaragua Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Panama Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Paraguay Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Peru Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Puerto Rico Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Trinidad and Tobago Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Turks and Caicos Islands Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 United States
(50 states and integral territories)
Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
Legal Legal medical assisted suicide in some states including California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington Illegal
228. Aiding Suicide
1. A person who, attempts to aid suicide or generate homicide of consent under medical assisted suicide will face execution when found guilty.
2. It is an offence to help someone commit suicide or advise or encourage someone to commit suicide.
3. Killing a person on request, by using euthanasia, can be punished by up to an imprisonment term of up to 12 years.

[30]

 United States Virgin Islands Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Uruguay Illegal, but may be pardoned Illegal, but may be pardoned Illegal Unknown
 Venezuela Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

Asia[edit]

Country/region De jure Penalty Notes
Suicide Assisted suicide Euthanasia
 Afghanistan Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Bangladesh Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 305. Abetment of suicide of child or insane person

If any person under eighteen years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death or 110[ imprisonment] for life, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Article 306. Abetment of suicide
If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Article 309. Attempt to commit suicide

Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

[31]
 Bhutan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 150. Complicity in suicide
A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of complicity in suicide, if the defendant aids, abets, counsels or procures the suicide of another person. 
Article 151. Grading of complicity in suicide
The offence of complicity in suicide shall be a misdemeanour. 
[32]
 Brunei Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 305. Abetment of suicide of child or insane person

If any person under 18 years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life.

Article 306. Abetment of suicide
If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Article 309. Attempt to commit suicide

Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

[33]
 Cambodia Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown [34]
 China Legal Illegal Illegal Suicide in China
 Hong Kong Legal Illegal Illegal
CAP 212 OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON ORDINANCE
Section 33A Suicide to cease to be a crime

The rule of law whereby it is a crime for a person to commit suicide is hereby abrogated.(Added 71 of 1967 s. 2)[cf. 1961 c. 60 s. 1 U.K.]
[35][36]
 India Legal Illegal Legal
ARTICLE 305. ABETMENT OF SUICIDE OF CHILD OR INSANE PERSON.
If any person under eighteen years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication, commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with death or 104[imprisonment for life], or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
ARTICLE 309. ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT SUICIDE.
Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall he punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year [or with fine, or with both].
Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (Decriminalisation of Suicide)

115. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code.
(2) The appropriate Government shall have a duty to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to a person, having severe stress and who attempted to commit suicide, to reduce the risk of recurrence of attempt to commit suicide.

[37][38][39]
 Indonesia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 345. Causing a Suicide to be Committed
Any  person whowith deliberate intent instigates another to commit suicide, aids him thereby or provides him with the means thereto, shall, if the  suicide  ensues, be punished  by a maximum imprisonment of four years.
[40]
 Iran Legal Illegal Illegal See reference [41]
 Iraq Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Israel Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 302. Inducing or abetting suicide

If a person causes a person to kill himself by inducement or advice or if he assists a person in killing himself, then he is liable to twenty years imprisonment.

[42]
 Japan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 202. (Inducing or Aiding Suicide; Homicide with Consent)
A person who induces or aids another to commit suicide, or kills another at the other's request or with other's consent, shall be punished by imprisonment with or without work for not less than 6 months but not more than 7 years.
[43]
 Jordan Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article (339)
a.   Whoever incites a person to commit suicide or assists him/her in any of the ways  stipulated  in  article  (80),  he/she  shall  be  punished  by  temporary  detention.

b. If the person does not commit suicide but attempts to do so, then the penalty shall be imprisonment from three months to two years and up to three years if it results in a permanent disability or harm.

[44]
 Kazakhstan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 102. Driving Someone to Suicide

1. Driving a person to suicide or to make a suicide attempt by way of threatening, cruel treatment or systematic humiliation of the human dignity of a victim, shall be punished by restriction of freedom for a period up to three years, or by deprivation of freedom for the same period. 2. The same act, committed against a person who was in complete material or other dependence upon the guilty person, -shall be punished by restriction of freedom for a period up to five years or deprivation of freedom for the same period.

Article 96. A Murder

1. A murder, that is, the illegal deliberate causation of the death of another person, shall be punished by deprivation of freedom for a period from six to fifteen years.

[45]
 Kuwait Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Kyrgyzstan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 102. Reducing to Suicide

(1) Reducing a person to suicide or attempted suicide by threats, abuse or systematic humiliation -shall be sentenced by 2 to 5 years of imprisonment. (2) The same act towards a person materially or in other way dependent on the offender, -shall be sentenced by 3 to 7 years of imprisonment.

Article 103. Compassing to Suicide

Compassing to suicide, i.e. raising another person’s determination to commit suicide by persuasion, deception or in any other way, that lead to such person’s suicide or attempted suicide, -shall be sentenced by up to 5 years of imprisonment.

[46]
 Lebanon Illegal Illegal Illegal Penalty for an attempted suicide: 3 months up to 5 years imprisonment. [47]
 Macau Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Malaysia Illegal Illegal Illegal
Sec. 305 Abetment of suicide of child or insane person
If any person under eighteen years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication, commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death or imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Sec. 306 Abetment of suicide

If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Sec. 309. Attempt to commit suicide

Whoever attempts to commit suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.

[48]
 Maldives Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Mongolia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 95. Bringing to suicide
95.1. Bringing to suicide of the victim who is in a material dependence, subordination or another inferiority to the culprit through brutal treatment or systematic humiliation of his/her honor and dignity shall be punishable by imprisonment for a period of 2 to 5 years.
[49]
   Nepal Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 North Korea Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Oman Illegal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Pakistan Illegal Illegal Illegal
Sec. 325. Attempt to commit suicide:
Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
[50]
 Palestine Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Philippines Legal Illegal Illegal
Art. 253. Giving assistance to suicide.
Any person who shall assist another to commit suicide shall suffer the penalty of prision mayor; if such person leads his assistance to another to the extent of doing the killing himself, he shall suffer the penalty of reclusion temporal. However, if the suicide is not consummated, the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods, shall be imposed.
[51]
 Qatar Legal Illegal Illegal
Article (305)
Anyone who incites or helps a person anyhow to commit suicide, if suicide is committed accordingly, is convicted to no more than seven years in prison. If the victim is under sixteen or unwilled, the culprit is convicted to no more than ten years in prison. If the victim has no choice or is unaware, this is considered a premeditated murder and the culprit is convicted to no more than seven years in prison if the victim’s parents forgive or accept the wergild.
[52]
 Saudi Arabia Illegal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Singapore Illegal Illegal Illegal
Article 305. Abetment of suicide of child or insane person
If any person under 18 years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication, commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Article 306. Abetment of suicide
If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Article 309. Attempt to commit suicide
Whoever attempts to commit suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
[53]
 South Korea Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 252 (Murder upon Request or with Consent)
CRIMINAL ACT 53

(1) A person who kills another upon ones request or with ones consent shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years.

[54]
 Sri Lanka Legal Illegal Illegal
299. Abetment of suicide
If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death.
[55]
 Syria Illegal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Taiwan Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown [56]
 Tajikistan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 109. Driving to Suicide
(1) Driving an individual to suicide or attempt upon suicide by threat, cruel treatment, or systematic degrading the dignity of a victim is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 3 to 5 years.

(2) The same actions committed in regard to a person, who was in financial or other dependence of the guilty person, or committed in regard to a minor is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 5 to 8 years.

[57]
 Thailand Legal Illegal Illegal
Section 292
Whoever, practicing the cruelty or employing the similar factor on the person to have depended on him for subsistence or any other activities so as to that person shall commit the suicide, if suicide to have occurred or to have been attempted, shall be imprisoned not out seven years and fined not out of fourteen thousand Baht.
Section 293
Whoever aids or instigates a child not over sixteen years of age, or a person who is unable to understand the nature and importance of his act or who is unable to control his act, to commit suicide, shall, if suicide has occurred or has been attempted, be punished with imprisonment not exceeding five years or fined not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both.
[58]
 Turkmenistan Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 United Arab Emirates Illegal Illegal Illegal Unknown [59]
 Uzbekistan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 103. Bringing to Suicide
Bringing to suicide or attempt thereat by cruel treatment or persistent degrading of honor and dignity of a person, who was not in financial or other dependence on a guilty person shall be punished with correctional labor up to three years or imprisonment up to five years.

The same acts committed in respect of a person, who was in financial or other dependence on a guilty person shall be punished with correctional labor up to three years or imprisonment up to five years.

[60]
 Vietnam Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 100. Forced suicide

1. Any person who cruelly treats, constantly intimidates, illtreats or humiliates a person dependent on him/her, inducing the latter to commit suicide, shall be sentenced to between two and seven years of imprisonment. 2. Any person who commits the crime of compelling more than one person to commit suicide shall be sentenced to between five and twelve years of imprisonment.

Article 101. Inciting or assisting other persons to commit suicide

1. Any person who incites another person to commit suicide or assists another person to commit suicide shall be sentenced to imprisonment for between six months and three years. 2. Any person who commits the crime of assisting or inciting more than one person to commit suicide shall be sentenced to between two and seven years of imprisonment.

[61]
 Yemen Illegal Illegal Illegal Unknown

Europe[edit]

Country/region De jure Penalty Notes
Suicide Assisted suicide Euthanasia
 Albania Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 99 Causing suicide
Causing  suicide  or  a  suicide  attempt  by  a  person  because  of  the  systematic  maltreatment or other systematic misbehaviors which seriously affect the dignity [of the person], committed by another person under whose material dependence or any other dependence the former person is subject, is punishable by a fine or up to five years of imprisonment.
[62]
 Armenia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 110. Causing somebody to commit suicide.
1. Causing somebody to commit suicide or make an attempt at a suicide by indirect willfulness or by negligence, by means of threat, cruel treatment or regular humiliation of one’s dignity, is punished with imprisonment for the term of up to 3 years. 

2. The same act committed in relation to a person in financial or other dependence of the perpetrator, is punished with imprisonment for the term of up to 5 years.

Article 111. Abetment of suicide.
Abetment of suicide, creation of determination in the person to commit suicide by means of instructions, deception, etc., if the person committed suicide or made a suicide attempt, is punished with imprisonment for the term of up to 3 years.
[63]
 Austria Legal Illegal Illegal Killing a person on request by such person, or aiding or helping another person to commit suicide is punished with imprisonment of 6 months up to 5 years. [64]
 Azerbaijan Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 125. Bringing to suicide
Bringing a person, who is taking place in material, service or other dependence from guilty, to suicide or to attempt at suicide by threats, cruel treatment or regular humiliation of his dignity –  shall be punished by restriction of freedom for the term up to three years or imprisonment for the term from three up to seven years.
[65]
 Belarus Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 105. Bringing to Suicide
Bringing to suicide or to an attempted suicide through brutal treatment of the sufferer or systematic humiliation of his personal dignity - shall be punishable with the deprivation of freedom for a term of up to three years.  The same action committed in relation to a person who has been materially or otherwise dependent on the culprit - shall be punishable with the deprivation of freedom for a term of up to five years. 
[66]
 Belgium Legal Legal Legal Legal since 2002
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Bulgaria Legal Illegal Illegal
Art. 127.

(1) Who, in any way whatsoever, helps or prevails upon a suicide and suicide or attempted suicide takes place, shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years. (2) For the same crime regarding a minor person or a person of whom the culprit is aware that he is in no position to guide his ac ts or he does not understand the quality or the importance of the act the punishment shall be imprisonment of three to ten years. (3) Who, by a cruel treatment or systematic humiliation of the dignity of a person in material or other dependence on him leads him to a suicide or suicide attempt, having expected it, shall be punished by imprisonment of two to eight years. (4) If the act under the preceding para is committed by negligence the punishment shall be imprisonment of up to three years.

[67]
 Croatia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 96 Participating in Suicide
(1) Whoever induces or assists another in committing suicide which is accomplished or attempted shall be punished by imprisonment for six months to five years.

(2) Whoever induces or assists a juvenile person in committing suicide, or induces or assists in committing suicide a person whose capability of understanding his own acts and of controlling his own will is significantly diminished, and the suicide is accomplished or attempted shall be punished by imprisonment for one to eight years. (3) Whoever induces or assists a child in committing suicide or whoever induces or assists a person who is not capable of understanding the significance of his act, or could not control his own will so that the suicide is attempted or accomplished, shall be punished pursuant to Article 90 of this Code. (4) Whoever treats a person who is in a state of subordination or dependence in a cruel or inhuman way and thereby negligently causes the suicide of that person shall be punished by imprisonment for three months to three years.

[68]
 Cyprus Illegal Illegal Illegal
214. Attempt to murder.
Any person who - 

(a) attempts unlawfully to cause the death of another ; or (b) with intent unlawfully to cause the death of another does any act, or omits to do any act which it is his duty to do, such act or omission being of such a nature as to be likely to endanger human life, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

288. Abetting suicide.
Any person who-- 

(a) procures another to kill himself; or (b) counsels another to kill himself and thereby induces him to do so ; or (c) aids another in killing himself, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

219. Attempting suicide.

Any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour.

[69]
 Czech Republic Legal Illegal Illegal
Section 144 Accessory to Suicide

(1) Whoever encourages another person to commit suicide or assists another person in committing suicide, shall be sentenced, if at least an attempted suicide occurred, to imprisonment for up to three years. (2) An offender shall be sentenced of imprisonment for two to eight years, if he/she commits the act referred to in Subsection (1) on a child or a pregnant woman. (3) An offender shall be sentenced of imprisonment for five to twelve years, if he/she commits the act referred to in Subsection (1) on a child under fifteen years of age or on a person suffering from a mental disorder.

[70]
 Denmark Legal Illegal Illegal
§ 240
Any person who assists another person in committing suicide shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three years.
[71]
 Estonia Legal Illegal Illegal [72]
 Finland Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 France Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Georgia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 115 - Incitement to suicide
Incitement to suicide or attempted suicide accompanied with intimidation or cruel treatment of the victim or by degrading of the victim's honour or dignity, –

shall be punished by restriction of liberty for up to three years or by imprisonment for a term of two to four years.

[73]
 Germany Legal Legal, but the lethal act itself must be performed by the person deciding to end their life. Some exemptions. Illegal [74]
 Gibraltar Legal Illegal Illegal
158. Suicide pacts.

(1) A person who, in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another person– (a) kills that person; or (b) is party to the killing of that person by a third person, commits the offence of manslaughter and not murder.

(2) If it is shown that a person charged with the murder of another killed the other or was a party to his being killed, it is for the defence to prove that the person charged was acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and the other.

(3) For the purposes of this section, “suicide pact” means a common agreement between two or more persons having for its object the death of all of them, whether or not each is to take his own life, but nothing done by a person who enters into a suicide pact is to be treated as done by him in pursuance of the pact unless it is done while he has the settled intention of dying in pursuance of the pact.

159. Complicity in suicide.

(1) A person (‘D’) commits an offence if– (a) D does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person; and (b) D’s act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide.

(2) The person referred to in subsection (1)(a) need not be a specific person (or class of persons) known to, or identified by, D.

(3) D may commit an offence under this section whether or not a suicide, or an attempt at suicide, occurs.

(4) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for 14 years.

(5) If on the trial of an indictment for murder or manslaughter of a person it is proved that the deceased person committed suicide, and the defendant committed an offence under subsection (1) in relation to that suicide, the jury may find the defendant guilty of the offence under subsection (1).

(6) If D arranges for a person (‘D2’) to do an act that is capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person and D2 does that act, D is to be treated for the purposes of this Part as having done it.

(7) If the facts are such that an act is not capable of encouraging or assisting suicide or attempted suicide, for the purposes of this section it is to be treated as so capable if the act would have been so capable had the facts been as D believed them to be at the time of the act; or had subsequent events happened in the manner D believed they would happen, or both.

(8) A reference in this section to a person doing an act that is capable of encouraging the suicide or attempted suicide of another person includes a reference to his doing so by threatening another person or otherwise putting pressure on another person to commit or attempt suicide.

(9) A reference in this section to an act includes a reference to a course of conduct, and a reference to doing an act is to be read accordingly.

(10) No prosecution for an offence against this section may be commenced except by, or with the consent of, the Attorney General.

[75]
 Greece Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Hungary Legal Illegal Illegal
Section 162
(1) Any person who persuades another to commit suicide, or provides aid for suicide is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment between one to five years, if the suicide is attempted or committed.

(2) Any person over the age of eighteen years who persuades another person under the age of eighteen years to commit suicide, or provides aid for committing suicide is punishable by imprisonment between two to eight years, if the suicide is attempted orcommitted.

[76]
 Iceland Legal Illegal Illegal
Art. 214
In case a person be conducive to another person’;;s committing suicide he/she shall be subject to [imprisonment for up to 1 year] 1) or fines. In case this be done for a selfish purpose the penalty shall be imprisonment for up to 3 years.
[77]
 Ireland Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Italy Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Kosovo Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 183 Inciting suicide and assisting in suicide
1.Whoever  incites  or  assists  another  person  to  commit  suicide,  and  the  suicide  is  committed, shall be punished by imprisonment of one (1) to five (5) years. 

2. Whoever commits the offense provided for in paragraph 1 of this Article against a minor or a person whose capability to understand the gravity of his or her act or whose ability to control his or her behavior was substantially diminished, shall be punished by imprisonment of one (1) to ten (10) years. 3. Whoever commits the offense provided for in paragraph 1 of this Article against a person under the age of fourteen (14) years or against a person who was incapable of understanding the gravity of his or her act or controlling his or her behavior shall be punished in accordance with Article 178 of this Code. 4. Whoever treats another person in a subordinate position in a cruel or inhumane way and thereby causes such person to commit suicide shall be punished by imprisonment of six (6) months to five (5) years. For the purpose of this paragraph “person in a subordinate position” means a person who is under the supervision, rank, control or custody of the person who acted in a cruel or inhumane way. 5. If, as a result of an offense provided for in paragraphs 1 to 4 of this Article, suicide has only been attempted, the punishment may be reduced.

[78]
 Latvia Legal Illegal Illegal
Section 124. Causing a Suicide to be Committed
(1) For a person who commits causing a person to commit suicide or attempt suicide by  cruel  treatment  of  the  victim  or  systematic  demeaning  of  his  or  her  personal  dignity,  if  such  person  has  not  been  in  financial  or  other  dependence  upon  the  offender, the applicable sentence is deprivation of liberty for a term not exceeding three years. 

(2) For a person who commits the same acts with regard to a person who has been in financial or other dependence upon the offender, the applicable sentence is deprivation of liberty for a term not exceeding five years.

[79]
 Liechtenstein Legal Illegal Illegal Killing somebody on request, or aiding somebody to commit suicide is punished with imprisonment from six months up to five years.
 Lithuania Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Luxembourg Legal Legal Legal
 Macedonia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 128 Instigation to suicide and helping in suicide

(1) A person who instigates another to suicide or helps him in committing suicide, and this was committed, shall be punished with imprisonment of three months to three years.

(2) If the crime from item 1 is committed against a juvenile who reached the age of fourteen or against a person who is in a state of decreased mental competence, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of one to ten years.

(3) If the crime from item 1 is committed against a juvenile who has not reached the age of fourteen years yet, or against a mentally incompetent person, the offender shall be punished according to article 123.

(4) A person behaving cruelly or inhumanely towards another who has a subordinate or dependent relationship to him, and if this person commits suicide because of this relationship, which could be attributed to negligence by the offender, shall be punished with imprisonment of six months to five years.

(5) If because of the crimes from items 1 to 4 the suicide was only attempted, the court may punish the offender more leniently.

[80]
 Malta Legal Illegal Illegal
213.
Whosoever shall prevail on any person to commit suicide or shall give him any assistance, shall, if the suicide takes place, be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve years.
[81]
 Moldova Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Montenegro Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 149 Incitement to suicide and aid in the commission of suicide

(1) Anyone who incites other person to suicide or aid him in committing suicide, and should suicide be committed or attempted, shall be sentenced to one to eight years of imprisonment. (2) Anyone who aids other person in committing suicide subject to conditions referred to in Article 147 of the present Code, and should suicide be committed or attempted, shall be sentenced to three months to five years of imprisonment. (3) Anyone who commits the act referred to in Paragraph 1 of this Article against a juvenile or a person in the state of substantialy diminished mental capacity, shall be sentenced to two to ten years of imprisonment. (4) Should the act referred to in Paragraph 1 of this Article be committed against a child or a mentally incapable person, the perpetrator shall be sentenced in line with provisions of Article 144 of the present Code. (5) Anyone who treats with cruelty or brutality other person subordinate or dependant on him, and should the person in question due to such treatment, commit or attempt suicide that can be attributed to the offender’s negligence, shall be sentenced to six months to five years of impris

[82]
 Netherlands Legal Legal medical assisted suicide Legal [83]
 Norway Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Poland Legal Illegal Illegal
Articles 150. and 151.

Art. 150. § 1. Whoever kills a human on his own request and driven by compassion towards him, shall be subject to the penalty of imprisonment for a term of between 3 months and 5 years. § 2. In special cases the court may imopse an extraordinary mitigation of punishment or even forego the punishment.

Art. 151. Whoever by encouraging or help drives a human to a suicide, shall be subject to the penalty of imprisonment for a term of between 3 months and 5 years.

[84]
 Portugal Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Romania Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 191. Determining or facilitating suicide

(1). An act of determining or facilitating the suicide of an individual, if the suicide has taken place, shall be punishable by no less than 3 and no more than 7 years of imprisonment. (2).When the act specified by par. (1) was committed against a juvenile between 13 and 18 years of age or against a person having a reduced competence, the penalty shall be no less than 5 and no more than 10 years of imprisonment. (3). Determining or facilitating the suicide of a underage person who did not reach the age of 13 or of a person who was unable to realize the consequences of their actions or inactions or to control them, if suicide has taken place, shall be punishable by no less than 10 and no more than 20 years of imprisonment and a ban on the exercise of certain rights. (4). If actions of determining or facilitating suicide set under par. (1) - (3) were followed by a suicide attempt, the special limits of the penalty shall be reduced down to half.

[85]
 Russia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 110. Incitement to Suicide

Incitement of a person to commit or attempt to commit suicide by means of threats, cruel treatment of a person, or systematic denigration of the human dignity of the victim - Shall be punishable by restraint of liberty for a term of up to three years or by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to five years.

[86]
 Serbia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 119 Incitement to Suicide and Aiding in Suicide

(1) Whoever incites another to suicide or aids in committing suicide and this is committed or attempted, shall be punished with imprisonment of from six months to five years. (2) Whoever assists another in committing suicide under provisions of Article 117 hereof, and this is committed or attempted, shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to three years. (3) Whoever commits the act specified in paragraph 1 of this Article against a juvenile or person in a state of substantially diminished mental capacity, shall be punished with imprisonment from two to ten years. (4) If the act specified in paragraph 1 of this Article is committed against a child or mentally incompetent person, the offender shall be punished in accordance with Article 114 hereof. (5) Whoever cruelly or inhumanely treats another who is in a position of subordination or dependency and due to such treatment the person commits or attempts suicide that may be attributed to negligence of the perpetrator, shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years.

[87]
 Slovakia Legal Illegal Illegal
Section 154 Participating in a Suicide

(1) Any person who incites another person to committing suicide, or helps him to commit suicide, shall, if at least a suicide attempt takes place, be liable to a term of imprisonment of between six months and three years. (2) The offender shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of three to eightyears if he commits the offence referred to in paragpraph 1 a) acting in a more serious manner, b) against a protected person, or c) by reason of specific motivation.

[88]
 Slovenia Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 120 Solicitation to and Assistance in Suicide
(1) Whoever intentionally solicits another person to kill himself or assists him in doing  so,  resulting  in  that  person  indeed  committing  suicide,  shall  be  sentenced  to  imprisonment for not less than six months and not more than five years. 
(2)  Whoever  commits  the  offence  under  the  preceding  paragraph  against  a  minor above fourteen years of age or against a person whose ability to understand the meaning  of  his  act  or  to  control  his  conduct  was  substantially  diminished  shall  be  sentenced to imprisonment for not less than one and not more than ten years. 
(3)  In  the  event  of  the  offence  under  paragraph  1  of  the  this  Article  being  committed against a minor under fourteen years of age or against a person who was not capable  of  understanding  the  meaning  of  his  act  or  of  controlling  his  conduct  shall  be  punished according to the prescription for murder. 

(4) Whoever treats his subordinate or a person depending on him in a cruel or inhumane manner, resulting in this person's suicide, shall be sent enced to imprisonment for not less than six months and not more than five years. (5) Whoever, under particularly mitigating circumstances, assists another person to commit suicide, and if that person indeed commits suicide, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years. (6) If, relating to a criminal offence under the above paragraphs, the suicide has only been attempted, the Court may reduce the punishment of the perpetrator.

[89]
 Spain Legal Illegal Illegal
Article 143
1. Whoever induces another to suicide shall be punished with a sentence of imprisonment from four to eight years.

2. A sentence of imprisonment of two to five years shall be imposed on whoever co-operates in the necessary acts for a person to commit suicide. 3. Punishment shall involve a sentence of imprisonment from six to ten years if such co-operation were to reach the point of death ensuing. 4. Whoever causes or actively co-operates in the necessary, direct acts causing the death of another, at the specific, serious, unequivocal request of that person, in the event of the victim suffering a serious disease that would unavoidably lead to death, or that causes permanent suffering that is hard to bear, shall be punished with a punishment lower by one or two degrees to those described in Sections 2 and 3 of this Article.

[90]
 Sweden Legal Legal, but the lethal act itself must be performed by the person choosing to end their life Illegal
Penal Code, Chapter 3 § 1 Murder
A  person  who  takes  the  life  of  another  shall  be  sentenced  for murder to imprisonment for  a  fixed  period  of  at least ten and at most eighten years, or, if there are aggravating circumstances, for life.
[citation needed]
  Switzerland Legal Legal medical assisted suicide Illegal Unknown [91]
 Turkey Legal Illegal Illegal
ARTICLE 84 Suicide
(1) Any person who solicits, encourages a person to commit suicide, or supports the decision of a person for suicide or helps the suicide action in any manner whatsoever, is punished with imprisonment from two years to five years.

(2) In case of commission of suicide, the person who is involved in such act is sentenced to imprisonment from four years to ten years.

(3) Any person who openly encourages others to commit suicide is punished with imprisonment from three years to eight years.

(5) Persons who encourage others, lack of ability to understand the meaning and consequences of the executed act, to commit suicide, or force a person to commit suicide under threat, are convicted of felonious homicide.

[92]
 Ukraine Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 United Kingdom Legal Illegal Passive euthanasia legal
Criminal liability for complicity in another’s suicide.

[F1(1)A person (“D”) commits an offence if—

(a)D does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, and

(b)D's act was intended to encourage or assist suicide or an attempt at suicide.

(1A)The person referred to in subsection (1)(a) need not be a specific person (or class of persons) known to, or identified by, D.

(1B)D may commit an offence under this section whether or not a suicide, or an attempt at suicide, occurs.

(1C)An offence under this section is triable on indictment and a person convicted of such an offence is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.]

(2)If on the trial of an indictment for murder or manslaughter [F2of a person it is proved that the deceased person committed suicide, and the accused committed an offence under subsection (1) in relation to that suicide, the jury may find the accused guilty of the offence under subsection (1). ]

(3)The enactments mentioned in the first column of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect subject to the amendments provided for in the second column (which preserve in relation to offences under this section the previous operation of those enactments in relation to murder or manslaughter).

(4). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F3no proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under this section except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

[93][94]

Oceania[edit]

Country/region De jure Penalty Notes
Suicide Assisted suicide Euthanasia
 American Samoa Legal Illegal Illegal
46.3506 Promoting suicide.

(a) A person is guilty of promoting suicide when he intentionally causes or aids another person to attempt suicide, or when he intentionally aids another person to commit suicide. (b) Promoting suicide is a class D felony.

[95]
 Australia Legal Illegal Illegal
 Fiji Legal Illegal Illegal
199.-

(1) Any person who of malice aforethought causes the death of another person by an unlawful act or omission is guilty of murder:

Provided that it shall be manslaughter, and shall not be murder, for a person acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and another to kill the other.

(2) Where it is shown that a person charged with the murder of another killed the other, it shall be for the defence to prove that the person charged was acting in pursuance of a suicide pact between him and the other.

(3) For the purposes of this section "suicide pact" means a common agreement between two or more persons having for its object the death of all of them, whether or not each is to take his own life, but nothing done by a person who enters into a suicide pact shall be treated as done by him in pursuance of the pact unless it is done while he has the settled intention of dying in pursuance of the pact.

[96]
 Guam Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 New Zealand Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Northern Mariana Islands Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Palau Legal Illegal Illegal Unknown
 Papua New Guinea Illegal Illegal Illegal
310. AIDING SUICIDE.
A person who– 

(a) procures another to kill himself; or (b) counsels another to kill himself and so induces him to do so; or (c) aids another in killing himself, is guilty of a crime. Penalty: Subject to Section 19, imprisonment for life.

311. ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT SUICIDE.

A person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour. Penalty: Imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

[97]
 Samoa Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Solomon Islands Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Tokelau Unknown Unknown Unknown
9. Counselling Suicide

Any person who counsels or procures a person to commit suicide, or aids or abets a person in the commission of suicide commits an offence.

(Penalty "not exceeding more than $150 fine or 3 months imprisonment")

[98]
 Tonga Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
 Vanuatu Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

Laws in individual jurisdictions[edit]

Australia[edit]

In the Australian state of Victoria, while suicide itself is no longer a crime, a survivor of a suicide pact can be charged with manslaughter. Also, it is a crime to counsel, incite, or aid and abet another in attempting to suicide, and the law explicitly allows any person to use "such force as may reasonably be necessary" to prevent another from dying by suicide.

Legislation decriminalizing suicide in Australian States and Territories[edit]

Jurisdiction Legislation
Australian Capital Territory Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) s 16
New South Wales Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) s 31A
Northern Territory Criminal Code (NT) s 186 (repealed)
Queensland Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) s 312 (repealed by Criminal Law Amendment Act (1979) s 4)
South Australia Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1932 (SA) s 13A
Tasmania Criminal Code 1924 (Tas) s 163
Victoria Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 6A
Western Australia Criminal Code 1899 (WA) s 289 (repealed)

Canada[edit]

The common law crimes of attempting suicide and of assisting suicide were codified in Canada when Parliament enacted the Criminal Code in 1892.[99] Eighty years later, in 1972, Parliament repealed the offence of attempting suicide from the Criminal Code based on the argument that a legal deterrent was unnecessary.[100] The prohibition on assisting suicide remained, as s 241 of the Criminal Code:

Counselling or aiding suicide
241. Every one who
(a) counsels a person to [die by] suicide, or
(b) aids or abets a person to [die by] suicide,
whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.[101]

However, the law against assisted suicide, including physician-assisted suicide, was the subject of much debate including two reports of the Law Reform Commission of Canada in 1982 and 1983, though these did not support changing the law.[102]

In 1993, the offence of assisted suicide survived a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada, in the case of Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General). The plaintiff, Sue Rodriguez, had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in early 1991. She wished to be able to die by suicide at a time of her own choosing, but would require assistance to do so, because her physical condition prevented her from doing so without assistance. By a 5-4 majority, the Court held that the prohibition on assisted suicide did not infringe s 7 of the Canadian Charter of RIghts and Freedoms, which provides constitutional protection for liberty and security of the person. The majority held that while the law did affect those rights, it did so in a manner consistent with the principles of fundamental justice. The majority also held that the prohibition on assisted suicide did not infringe the Charter's prohibition against cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Assuming the prohibition did discriminate on basis of disability, the majority held that the infringement was a justifiable restriction.[103][104][105]

In 1995 the Senate issued a report on assisted suicide entitled Of Life and Death.[104] In 2011 the Royal Society of Canada published its report on end-of-life decision-making.[106] In the report it recommended that the Criminal Code be modified so as to permit assistance in dying under some circumstances.[107] In 2012 a Select Committee on Dying with Dignity of the Quebec National Assembly produced a report recommending amendments to legislation to recognize medical aid in dying as being an appropriate component of end-of-life care.[108] That report resulted in An Act respecting end-of-life care, which is set to come into force on December 10, 2015.[107][108][109]

On June 15, 2012, in Carter v Canada (AG), the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the criminal offence prohibiting physician assistance of suicide was unconstitutional on the grounds that denying people access to assisted suicide in hard cases was contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantee of equality under Section 15.[100][110] This decision was subsequently overturned by the majority of the British Columbia Court of Appeal (2:1) on the basis that the issue had already been decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Rodriguez case, invoking stare decisis.

A landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision on February 6, 2015[111] overturned the 1993 Rodriguez decision that had ruled against this method of dying. The unanimous decision in the further appeal of Carter v Canada (AG), stated that a total prohibition of physician-assisted death is unconstitutional.[112] The court’s ruling limits exculpation of physicians engaging physician-assisted death to hard cases of “a competent adult person who clearly consents to the termination of life and has a grievous and irremediable medical condition, including an illness, disease or disability, that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” The ruling was suspended for 12 months to allow the Canadian parliament to draft a new, constitutional law to replace the existing one.[113]

Specifically the Supreme Court held that the current legislation was overbroad in that it prohibits "physician‑assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition." The court decision includes a requirement that there must be stringent limits that are “scrupulously monitored.” This will require the death certificate to be completed by an independent medical examiner, not the treating physician, to ensure the accuracy of reporting the cause of death.[114]

The newly (November 2015) elected federal government subsequently requested a six-month extension for implementation; the arguments for this request were scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court in January 2016.[115]

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) reported that not all doctors would be willing to help a patient die. The belief in late 2015 was that no physician would be forced to do so. The CMA was already offering educational sessions to members as to the process that would be used after the legislation had been implemented.[115]

India[edit]

The Indian penal code 309 deals with punishment for attempted suicide. The Mental Health Care Act 2017 greatly limits the scope for the code to be implemented.[116] The bill states, “Any person who attempts to [die by] suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code”.[117] State governments are required to provide adequate care and rehabilitation for such individuals as to prevent a recurrence of an attempt to suicide.

Iran[edit]

The act of suicide has not been criminalized in the penal law of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[118] However, no one is allowed to ask another to kill him/her.[118] In addition, threatening to kill oneself is not an offense by the law, however if this act of threatening is done by a prisoner in a prison, then that would be considered as violation of the prisons' regulations and the offender may be punished according to penal law.[118]

According to the Act. 836 of the civil law of the Islamic Republic of Iran if a suicidal person prepares for suicide and writes a testament, if he/she dies, then by law the will is considered void and if he/she doesn't die, then the will is officially accepted and can be carried out.[119]

According to the theory of "borrowed crime", because suicide itself is not a crime in penal law, thus any type of assisting in an individual's suicide is not considered a crime and the assistant is not punished.[120] Assisting in suicide is considered a crime only when it becomes the "cause" of the suicidal person's death; for example when someone takes advantage of someone else's unawareness or simplicity and convince him/her to kill him/herself. In such cases assisting in suicide is treated as murder and the offender is punished accordingly.[118][120] In addition, assisting in suicide is considered a crime under section 2 of the Act. 15 of the cyber crimes law of the Islamic Republic of Iran which was legislated on June 15, 2009. According to the mentioned act, any type of encouragement, stimulation, invitation, simplification of access to lethal substances and/or methods and teaching of suicide with the help of computer or any other media network is considered assisting in suicide and thus, is punished by imprisonment from 91 days up to 1 year or fines from 5 to 20 million Iranian Rials or both.[118]

Ireland[edit]

Attempted suicide is not a criminal offence in Ireland and, under Irish law, self-harm is not generally seen as a form of attempted suicide. It was decriminalised in 1993.[121] Assisted suicide and euthanasia are, illegal. This is currently being challenged at the High Court, as of December 2012. As of 2014 assisted suicide remains illegal in Ireland.

Malaysia[edit]

Under section 309 of the Penal Code of Malaysia, whoever attempts to die by suicide, and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.[122]

Netherlands[edit]

In the Netherlands, being present and giving moral support during someone's suicide is not a crime; neither is supplying general information on suicide techniques. However, it is a crime to participate in the preparation for or execution of a suicide, including supplying lethal means or instruction in their use. (Physician-assisted suicide may be an exception. See Euthanasia in the Netherlands.)

New Zealand[edit]

As with many other western societies, New Zealand currently has no laws against suicide in itself, as a personal and unassisted act. However, as with comparable societies, there are still legislative sanctions against 'assisting or abetting' the suicides of others, under Section 179 of the Crimes Act 1961. (For further details, see Euthanasia in New Zealand.)

Norway[edit]

Suicide or attempted suicide is not illegal in Norway. However, complicity is.[123]

Romania[edit]

Suicide itself is not illegal in Romania, however encouraging or facilitating the suicide of another person is a criminal offense and is punishable by up to 7, 10 or 20 years in prison, depending on circumstances.[124]

Russian Federation[edit]

In Russia, a person whose mental disorder “poses a direct (imminent?) danger to themselves”[verification needed] can be put into a psychiatric hospital.

Inciting someone to suicide by threats, cruel treatment, or systematic humiliation is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. (Article 110 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation)

Federal law of Russian Federation no. 139-FZ of 2012-07-28 prescribes censorship of information about methods of suicide on the Internet. According to a website created by the Pirate Party of Russia, some pages with suicide jokes have been blacklisted, which may have led to blocking of an IP address of Wikia.[125][126] See also: Dumb Ways to Die#Censorship in Russia.

Singapore[edit]

In Singapore, a person who attempts to die by suicide can be imprisoned for up to one year.[127]

However, this law is rarely enforced.

South Africa[edit]

South African courts, including the Appellate Division, have ruled that suicide and attempted suicide are not crimes under the Roman-Dutch law, or that if they ever were crimes, they have been abrogated by disuse. Attempted suicide was from 1886 to 1968 a crime in the Transkei under the Transkeian Territories Penal Code.[128]

United Kingdom[edit]

England and Wales[edit]

Laws against suicide (and attempted suicide) prevailed in English common law until 1961. English law perceived suicide as an immoral, criminal offence against God and also against the Crown.[129] It first became illegal in the 13th century. Until 1822, in fact, the possessions of somebody who died by suicide could even be forfeited to the Crown.[130]

Suicide ceased to be a criminal offence with the passing of the Suicide Act 1961; the same Act made it an offence to assist in a suicide. With respect to civil law the simple act of suicide is lawful but the consequences of dying by suicide might turn an individual event into an unlawful act, as in the case of Reeves v Commissioners of Police of the Metropolis [2000] 1 AC 360,[131] where a man in police custody hanged himself and was held equally liable with the police (a cell door defect enabled the hanging) for the loss suffered by his widow; the practical effect was to reduce the police damages liability by 50%. In 2009, the House of Lords ruled that the law concerning the treatment of people who accompanied those who died by assisted suicide was unclear, following Debbie Purdy's case that this lack of clarity was a breach of her human rights. (In her case, as a sufferer from multiple sclerosis, she wanted to know whether her husband would be prosecuted for accompanying her abroad where she may eventually wish to die by assisted suicide, if her illness progressed.)

Scotland[edit]

Suicide directly involving only the deceased person is not by itself a criminal offence under Scots Law and has not been in recent history. However, attempting suicide might be a Breach of the peace if it is not done as a private act; this is routinely reported in the case of persons threatening suicide in areas frequented by the public. The Suicide Act 1961 applies only to England and Wales but under Scots Law a person who assists a suicide might be charged with murder, culpable homicide, or no offence depending upon the facts of each case. Despite not being a criminal offence, consequential liability upon the person attempting suicide (or if successful, his/her estate) might arise under civil law where e.g. it parallels the civil liabilities recognised in the (English Law) Reeves case mentioned above.

United States[edit]

Historically, various states listed the act of suicide as a felony, but these policies were sparsely enforced. In the late 1960s, eighteen U.S. states had no laws against suicide.[132] By the late 1980s, thirty of the fifty states had no laws against suicide or suicide attempts but every state had laws declaring it to be a felony to aid, advise or encourage another person to die by suicide.[133] By the early 1990s only two states still listed suicide as a crime, and these have since removed that classification.[citation needed] In some U.S. states, suicide is still considered an unwritten "common law crime," as stated in Blackstone's Commentaries. (So held the Virginia Supreme Court in 1992. Wackwitz v. Roy, 418 S.E.2d 861 (Va. 1992)). As a common law crime, suicide can bar recovery for the late suicidal person's family in a lawsuit unless the suicidal person can be proven to have been "of unsound mind." That is, the suicide must be proven to have been an involuntary act of the victim in order for the family to be awarded monetary damages by the court. This can occur when the family of the deceased sues the caregiver (perhaps a jail or hospital) for negligence in failing to provide appropriate care.[134] Some American legal scholars look at the issue as one of personal liberty. According to Nadine Strossen, former President of the ACLU, "The idea of government making determinations about how you end your life, forcing you...could be considered cruel and unusual punishment in certain circumstances, and Justice Stevens in a very interesting opinion in a right-to-die [case] raised the analogy."[135] Physician-assisted suicide is legal in some states.[136] For the terminally ill, it is legal in the state of Oregon under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. In Washington state, it became legal in 2009, when a law modeled after the Oregon act, the Washington Death with Dignity Act was passed. A patient must be diagnosed as having less than six months to live, be of sound mind, make a request orally and in writing, have it approved by two different doctors, then wait 15 days and make the request again. A doctor may prescribe a lethal dose of a medication but may not administer it.[137]

In California, medical facilities are empowered or required to commit anyone whom they believe to be suicidal for evaluation and treatment.[138]

In Maryland, it is an open question as to whether suicide is illegal. In 2018, a Maryland man was convicted of attempted suicide.[139][140][141][142]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  138. ^ See California Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150, for example.
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  142. ^ http://www.stardem.com/opinion/columns/attempted-suicide-likely-not-a-crime/article_5cc4e7d0-ffbf-5cce-8eb4-bb7a503141ab.html

External links[edit]