Insight into suicide in Iraq: causes, consequences, and legal implications

Insight into suicide in Iraq: causes, consequences, and legal implications

Shafaq News / Farah, a pseudonym used to protect her identity, recounted her suicide attempt by ingesting a large quantity of pills during her twenties, after being forced into a marriage with her cousin, whom she despised. However, despite her efforts to end her life, she was hospitalized for several days and returned home to find her problems unresolved.

Farah explained that her family's psychological pressure was the cause of her suicidal behavior. She emphasized that family-related stressors are a leading cause of suicide among girls. Nevertheless, Farah acknowledged that her decision to attempt suicide was not the right solution to her problems.

In her words, "Suicide does not resolve the issue. In my case, the solution was to seek the intervention of the family head, whose heartfelt and persuasive words left a lasting impression. Therefore, I encourage girls to turn to the family head to resolve conflicts peacefully, without resorting to ending their own lives."

According to Brigadier General Ghaleb al-Attiyah, Director of the Community Police, suicide rates between genders are nearly equivalent, but the means by which they choose to end their lives differ. Every month, there are between 55 to 65 suicide cases recorded, with occasional peaks of 70, indicating a steady increase every year.

Al-Attiyah revealed that the age range of those who commit suicide is vast, varying from the young to the elderly. Males tend to use firearms or jump from a high point, while females lean towards burning or ingesting excessive amounts of medication or narcotics.

Researcher Warda al-Khatib has identified several common reasons for suicide among adolescents and young people, including lack of affection and attention from loved ones, insufficient family support or counseling, and emotional problems.

Al-Khatib asserts that in 2022 alone, more than 772 people committed suicide, emphasizing the need for parents to befriend and monitor their children and to listen to their concerns, even if they seem insignificant. Additionally, parents must attempt to address their children's issues before they worsen and lead to suicide.

Legal expert Haneen al-Taie explained that under Iraqi law, there is no punishment for those who attempt suicide because it is not considered a crime. However, the instigator of suicide can be punished under the provisions of Article 480.

This article stipulates that anyone who incites or assists a person in committing suicide may be imprisoned for up to seven years. If the suicide was not carried out, but was only initiated, the penalty will be imprisonment for less than five years.

Al-Taie further elaborated that if the victim is under 18 years of age or lacks awareness or will, this will be considered an aggravating circumstance and the offender will be punished with the penalty of premeditated or attempted murder, as specified in the second paragraph of Article 480.

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