France: Senate Approves Anti-Cult Law

As expected, the French Senate has approved the anti-cult law in its amended text on May 3. The House should approve it at the end of the month.

Although a couple of Senators have voiced objections, the text has received some further amendements making it even stricter. It is now enough that a cult (or its de facto leader/s) has been found guilty once (as opposed to "repeatedly", as per the previous text) of a serious crime in order for it to be banned. The amendments also provide for heavier jail terms and fines, and for the possibility of placing a cult under the authority of a trustee.

The government stated that by eliminating a specific crime of mind control, or brainwashing, the Senate has taken into account the objections formulated by several quarters. In fact, however, although there is no specific crime of mind control, the same is still very much included in the law (and subject to heavy penalties), without being called by this name, but by incriminating "judgement-altering techniques" in an amendment to a pre-existing section of the criminal code.