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ADFI President Admits that the New Text of the Law “Includes the Crime of Mental Manipulation”… Under Another Name

(CESNUR, Jan. 29, 2001)

After the protests by the mainline churches and several French and international human rights watchdog groups, the text of the anti-cult law has been amended and the reference to a new crime of “mental manipulation”, or brainwashing, has been eliminated, just as the protesters requested, All is well that ends well? Not quite. In fact, the new text modifies the existing Section 313 of the French Criminal Code (incriminating the exploitation of a state of mental or physical weakness) by including the exploitation of “a state of psychological dependence” caused by “the use of serious and repeated pressure, or of techniques aimed at altering the capacity of judgement”. Commenting on January 23, 2001 on French TV channel France 2, interviewed by Sophie Davant, Ms. J. Tavernier, president of France’s largest anti-cult organization ADFI commented that “this is really the mental manipulation (…) it is really the crime of mental manipulation, and it’s very important”. Having persuaded the French legislators not to introduce a specific “crime of brainwashing” may be only a symbolic victory for critics of the law. In fact, the crime is still there… under another name.

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