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Lower House decision to penalise suicide attempts draws criticism 

By Maria Weldali - Apr 27,2022 - Last updated at Apr 27,2022

AMMAN — The Lower House’s recent decision to endorse penalty for suicidal people has drawn criticism from experts.

“Those who attempt suicide in a public place shall face an imprisonment term of no less than a year and a fine of no more than JD100 or both penalties,” the amendment reads. 

In an interview with The Jordan Times on Monday, sociologist Hussein Khozahe said that criminalising attempted suicide will not prevent suicide or decrease its rates.

“The recent amendment is a hasty and dangerous decision, and will have negative social and economic consequences,” Khozahe added.

Suicide is considered a criminal offence in 20 countries, according to Khozahe, who pointed out that the rest of the world is trying to follow human rights standards on suicide.

Furthermore, Khozahe said that those who are suicidal are trying to deliver a message to society and government, that they are not “feeling okay” and that they are suffering. 

Khozahe called on the government to prepare studies on suicide and its prevention, “instead of sending those with suicidal thoughts to prison”. The sociologist said that those who may be suicidal should be immediately referred to mental health centres.

Rand Khushman, a Jordanian psychiatrist, told The Jordan Times that making suicide punishable by fines and imprisonment deters people from seeking the help they need and is “totally unfair and a step backwards”.

“People with suicidal thoughts need support and not prison,” Khushman underlined, noting that sending them to prison will only make things worse and may cause them to commit suicide in prison.

In Jordan, 605 suicide cases were recorded during the period between 2014 and 2018, according to the Department of Statistics (DoS). Also in 2021, suicide rates increased by 10 per cent when compared with 2020, according to the DoS.

 

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