“Giving health advice is not trivial”: The anti-sectarian abuse law also targets the Catalan guru Casasnovas

“Giving health advice is not trivial”: The anti-sectarian abuse law also targets the Catalan guru Casasnovas

Thierry Casasnovas le gourou catalan du crudivorisme s'est fait connaître par ses vidéos. DR

Faced with the increase in reports of sectarian abuses, the government is strengthening its repressive arsenal with a new law. Two new offenses are created: provocation to abandon or abstain from medical treatment and psychological subjection, namely control. The associations are pleased, while reservations on freedom of conscience and expression arise. The new law targets in particular the man who calls himself a naturopath, Thierry Casasnovas, based in the P-0 and subject of several hundred reports to Miviludes which sees its status reinforced.

Thirteen years to the day after his first video and eleven months after his eight indictments, notably for “illegal practice of medicine” and “abuse of weakness”, Thierry Casasnovas, the guru of fasting and raw food from the Pyrénées-Orientales, remains more than ever in the eye of the storm of the authorities.

Because, coincidentally, the government has decided to sanction sectarian abuses even more firmly.

Since Tuesday, February 13, the bill strengthening the legal arsenal against these phenomena has been presented to the National Assembly by the Secretary of State for Citizenship Sabrina Agresti- Roubache (read below).

It should be adopted this Wednesday, February 14 evening. With, in particular, its article 4 creating the new offense of "provocation to the abandonment or abstention of medical treatment". The justification for such a law: responding to the spectacular increase in the number of reports to Miviludes (Interministerial Mission for Vigilance and the Fight against Sectarian Abuses).

That is, in its latest report, more than 4,000 reports recorded for the year 2021, a jump of 33.6% in one year, of which not far from 800 concern the sector of the medicine.

"The health crisis was a catalyst"

"The health crisis constituted a catalyst through a proliferation of new actors mastering the web and its codes, knowing how to control minds, by exploiting fears, loss of bearings", wrote the president of Miviludes.

Who targeted Casasnovas, a champion of raw foodism with controversial comments, particularly on the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Today, the Catalan is leading a crusade on social networks against Miviludes and Unadfi (National Union of Family Defense Associations) despite his strict judicial control.

His latest video with a provocative title – "Can we cure cancer with vegetable juice ?" – has just been deleted from her YouTube channel for incorrect medical information.

And if he unleashes himself in this way and dreams of being a herald of alternative therapists, it is in particular because this law concerns him directly, through this article 4 on the offense of provocation to violence. ;rsquo;abandonment or abstention from care. Or even article 1 which provides for an offense of “psychological subjection”, that is to say control.

A victim under the influence of Casasnovas' videos: “I was fragile, I could have ended my life”

Thierry Casasnovas has been indicted since March 10, 2023 for eight preventive offenses (illegal practice of medicine and pharmacy, abuse of weakness or deceptive commercial practices).

A victim interviewed by Miviludes and heard as a witness by the investigating gendarmes, recounts for the first time his nightmare experienced in 2016 to midilibre.fr.

A student between Hérault and Gard, she was treated for a specific pathology. A friend then told her about the guru's videos on social networks.

"I was fragile, but when you're not well, helpless, you take what you can, she tells us. "His speech touched me, he seemed to be suffering like me, there was something personal in his way of approaching health."< /em>

 So, if, penniless, she cannot afford the food supplements and courses offered by Casasnovas, she isolates herself in the countryside, stops her treatment and nourishes himself with his videos and spends "six months picking nettles and making juice from them.

She believes her theory of a poor diet creating inflammation of the intestines and brain problems.

And sinks into depression: "I could have ended my life, it’was not excluded, fortunately, the hospital took me back, I's on the list of' #39;waiting. Casasnovas, he went too far, he is not a doctor, he didn't realize it, he put people in danger, I don't know if he was aware of it. It took me years to understand. I did not file a complaint. I feel like an idiot, here I let justice take its course."

"There were holes in the legislative racket, it could be complicated to pursue people who give general medical advice, without making a diagnosis and without business relationship. This law is a good thing in the face of those who arrogate new power to themselves through their pseudo-knowledge", reacts Me Jean-Baptiste Cesbron, specialist lawyer.

"Giving health advice is never trivial, it can have extremely serious consequences on people's lives."

At the end of January, before the National Assembly, the orders of doctors and physiotherapists unanimously supported the establishment of this new offense.

But this article 4 had its detractors. The Council of State had expressed reservations, explaining that the offense of illegally practicing medicine or pharmacy already exists. Above all, the court highlighted freedom of expression while there also exists European case law on freedom of choice of medical treatment. In mid-December, the Senate withdrew these 2 contested articles (and therefore reintroduced on second reading).

Censorship from the Constitutional Council ?

"The problem is legal and censorship from the Constitutional Council hangs in our face", warns Lauriane Josende, senator of the P-O and rapporteur of the project before the upper house. She denounces an announcement effect.

"Where is the abandonment of care?? To what extent a person does not have the right to stop treatment because she considers that it is her freedom? If it is subjective, we affect the fundamental freedoms of conscience and expression. And the repressive arsenal already exists", develops Lauriane Josende.

She intends to make this statement during the likely next joint committee on the subject re-discussed between parliamentarians.

Note that the Senate also supported and boosted the other articles, notably planning to strengthen Miviludes by including it in law or by allowing associations to more easily become civil parties in these files of sectarian aberrations.

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