(Jan. 28, 2020) On December 26, 2019, the president of Brazil promulgated a new law passed by the Brazilian Congress that criminalizes instigation to self-harm. The new law, Law No. 13,968, amends article 122 of the Penal Code to modify the crime of incitement to suicide and to make it a crime to induce or instigate self-harm or assist anyone in inducing or instigating self-harm. According to the amended article 122, to induce someone to commit suicide or self-harm, or instigate the act of suicide, or provide material assistance to one committing such acts is punishable by imprisonment for six months to two years.
If self-harm or attempted suicide results in “serious” or “very serious” bodily injury, under the terms of article 129, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Penal Code, the punishment is increased to one to three years in prison. (Art. 122 (§ 1).) If the suicide is consummated or if self-mutilation results in death, the punishment is further increased to two to six years in prison. (Art. 122 (§ 2).)
The punishment doubles “if the crime is committed for selfish, vile [torpe], or capricious [fútil] reasons,” or if the victim is a minor or has, for any reason, a decreased capacity for resistance. (Art. 122 (§ 3).) The punishment may also double if the inducement or instigation is carried out through a computer network or social network, or is transmitted in real time. (Art. 122 (§ 4).) The penalty is increased by half if the agent is a leader or coordinator of a group or virtual network. (Art. 122 (§ 5).)
If the crime referred to in article 122 (§ 1) results in a “very serious” bodily injury and is committed against children under 14 years of age, or against those who, due to illness or mental disability, do not have the necessary discernment to engage in the act of self-harming or attempted suicide, or who, for any other reason, cannot offer resistance, the agent is responsible for the crime described in article 129 (§ 2) of the Penal Code. (Art. 122 (§ 6).)
If the crime referred to in article 122 (§ 3) is committed against minors under 14 years of age or against those who do not have the necessary discernment to perform the act of self-harming or attempted suicide, or who, for any other reason, cannot offer resistance, the agent is responsible for the crime of homicide, under the terms of article 121 of the Penal Code. (Art. 122 (§ 7).)