Mock execution

A mock execution is a stratagem in which a victim is deliberately but falsely made to feel that his execution or that of another person is imminent or is taking place. It may be staged for an audience or a subject who is made to believe that he is being led to his own execution. This might involve blindfolding the subjects, making them recount last wishes, making them dig their own grave, holding an unloaded gun to their head and pulling the trigger, shooting near (but not at) the victim, or firing blanks. Mock execution is categorized as psychological torture. There is a sense of fear induced when a person is made to feel that they are about to be executed or witness someone being executed. Mock execution is considered psychological torture because there is no physical harm caused, but there is mental harm. Psychological harm is caused because the victim's suspense level increases while awaiting their death or someone else's, which is considered torture. The psychological trauma begins to occur when the victim realizes that they are about to be executed. The psychological trauma results in permanent damage equivalent to the aftermath of physical torture. The buildup of anxiety due to mock execution could influence the end result of the staged death.

The psychological trauma can also lead to depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental disorders after experiencing a traumatic event such as a mock execution. An example of anxiety during a mock execution would be the victim showing signs of fear, crying, uncontrollable movements, and pleading for their life. The psychological trauma may lead to a breakdown where someone may do or say something to stop the execution; it might act as a threat that future conduct may result in a real execution; or suggest that the apparent victim's death has changed the circumstances. Using mock execution may not result in death, but leaves the victim with the memory of the torture they experienced. Treatment after experiencing torture should take effect as soon as possible. Interventions and specialists have been proven to be beneficial. In Lilla Hardi, Gábor Király, Esther Kovács, and Kathryn Heffernan's 2010 publication Torture and Survivors: Manual for Experts in Refugee Care, treatments for trauma are discussed. According to the authors, trauma specialists are able to help victims overcome the experience, emotions, and explains that it will be a long healing process. Trauma specialists are able to assist the victim in identifying the issue and brainstorming ways to overcome the trauma. Interventions are beneficial as it allows the victim to be more comfortable with discussing the event, relating to individuals with similar experiences, and practicing coping skills.

Historical instances

See also


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