is a method of execution
where the victim is coerced into committing suicide
to avoid facing an alternative option they perceive as much worse, such as suffering torture
or having friends or family members imprisoned or tortured or killed. Another common form historically has been deliberately providing a condemned individual with a weapon and a brief period in which to commit honourable suicide if he or she chooses before being executed. Because the victim's cause of death would be registered as suicide, the act also carries an additional benefit as black propaganda
against individuals for whom an open execution would generate unwanted attention due to the suicide's position or influence.
In ancient Greece and Rome
Forced suicide was a common means of execution in ancient Greece
. As a mark of respect it was generally reserved for aristocrats sentenced to death; the victims would either drink hemlock
or fall on their swords. Economic motivations promoted some suicides in ancient Rome. A person who was condemned to death would forfeit property to the government. People could evade that provision and let the property pass to their heirs by committing suicide prior to arrest.
Probably the most famous forced suicide is that of the philosopher Socrates
, who drank hemlock after his trial for allegedly corrupting the youth of Athens
. The Stoic
also killed himself in response to a request by his pupil, the Roman Emperor Nero
, who himself... Read More