Is it a crime to spread images of a suicide attempt?

Depression can be a factor in suicide.

Depression can be a factor in suicide.

The security forces saved last Wednesday a woman who jumped into the void from a window that overlooks the Ronda del Carmen de Cáceres. The young woman, who was in a serious state of alteration due to a psychiatric problem that she suffers, It was more than two hours attached to the ledge of its window until finally it was launched. He was not injured because he fell on an inflatable mattress that the firefighters had placed to cushion the fall, but what happened kept the city in suspense all morning due to the anguish transmitted by its protagonist.

Minutes later, social networks were flooded with videos in which you could see what happened, there were even those who broadcast it live through their profile. And others shared recordings in which they encouraged the woman to get off or made degrading expressions at her. Rare is the man from Cáceres who has not seen any of these images because they went viral in minutes. But is it a crime to spread a suicide attempt?

A priori, it could threaten the privacy of the young woman who appears in them or incur the crime of inducing suicide, in the case of those who encouraged her to rush. On the other hand, the penal code would not prosecute them, despite being a person with a mental illness. It is explained by the chief prosecutor of the province of Cáceres, Marta Abellán. In the first of the cases (against privacy), the criminal code punishes the use of information systems and electronic data interception that may interfere with the privacy of citizens. But this is not the case. “No computer programs are used to intrude on the privacy of this woman, what is happening is simply recorded”, clarifies the prosecutor. And it goes further: “It is a public place, therefore there is no privacy. This person does not have the power to exclude that fact that he is committing through the window of third party knowledge because anyone can see it.”

Neither did those who disseminated images encouraging her to commit suicide acted in a punishable manner. Article 143 of the penal code punishes both the induction to suicide and the aid to suicide / homicide; but it demands the death of the suicide. “The jurisprudence does not admit an attempted suicide. If someone, even inside the room, tells you to jump, if the suicide’s death does not occur as a result, Induction is not investigated as a crime, “Marta Abellán clarifies. But it would not be investigated in the event that he finally died, adds the chief prosecutor:” There was no fraud. These incitements did not seek the death of the girl as a result. “Ethically reprehensible

That it is not prosecuted by jurisprudence does not endorse what happened: “From the ethical point of view it is not indifferent, what they did is reprehensible, that is why she or her legal representative can demand reparation in civil proceedings for affecting her right to honor”, clarifies the prosecutor Marta Abellán.

The videos have hurt the sensibilities of many, especially those groups that serve people who suffer from these types of problems. Suicide is the leading cause of unnatural death in Spain. And this year the deaths almost doubled by traffic accident in our region.

The head of the listening center and member of the association How beautiful life is, Antonio Floriano, shows his rejection: “Instead of worrying about her, looking at her with compassion, they scoff. It is tremendous because many suicides can come later, when she looks, “he warns. And the mental health professionals at the Cáceres Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center also condemn what happened: “We are saddened and disappointed with the social response. Nobody has stopped to think that, beyond the image, it is a person like you and me who do not know what circumstances are going through to find themselves in such an extreme situation. With our attitude we can contribute to approach the reality of suicide with meaning, sensitivity and responsibility “.


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