On Monday (26), entities and professionals in the area of health and human rights launched the manifesto “Madness does not torture and the voices will not be silent”. The action is a response to the attempt by the Regional Council of Medicine of the State of São Paulo (CREMESP) to censor deputy Alexandre Padilha (PT-SP), who publicly criticized the abusive and backward changes promoted by the Bolsonaro government in politics mental health.
The manifesto has the support of entities, parliamentarians and names such as Regional Council of Psychology of São Paulo, Vladimir Herzog Institute, Union of Municipal Servants of São Paulo, Senator Jaques Wagner, Senator Humberto Costa, Deputy Gleisi Hoffmann, Deputy Érika Kokay, Deputy Benedita da Silva, Deputy Jandira Feghali, Dilma Rousseff, Eleonora Menicucci, Arthur Chioro, Aloizio Mercadante, Gastão Wagner, João Pedro Stedile, Fábio Porchat, Gregório Duvivier, Tata Amaral, Teresa Cristina, among others.
Understand the case
CREMESP advisers opened an investigation against Padilha, who is an infectious disease physician, for alleged violation of the Medical Code of Ethics. The investigation is based on a complaint made by a doctor from a Facebook post, in which Padilha comments on an article in the Estado de São Paulo newspaper that denounced changes in the Federal Government’s mental health policy.
In the post, Padilha made a broad and general criticism of Bolsonaro’s mental health policy, which intends to expand public resources for isolated psychiatric hospitals and authorize the admission of children and adolescents to these hospitals. In addition, it authorizes financing by the Ministry of Health for the purchase of electroshock equipment for electroconvulsive therapy, which may represent the return of asylum practices.
Based on these public statements in defense of the anti-asylum struggle, consolidated in Brazil and in the world, CRM-SP accuses Padilha of having disrespected two ethical articles that prevent doctors from expressing themselves on a medical subject in a sensational, lying or promotional way. In the post, Padilha uses the historical phrase of the antomanicomial struggle movement, “madness does not hold, madness does not torture”. The lawsuit accuses Padilha of being a doctor, not being able to use the expression madness, or electroshock equipment.
Freedom of expression
Due to article 85 of the Federal Constitution, which prohibits deputies and senators from being punished for opinions, words and gestures, the Chamber of Deputies itself joined the Supreme Federal Court in defense of Padilha. The Chamber acted, in this case, in defense of the parliamentarians’ prerogative not to be sued for expressing an opinion.
The action involves an ethical-disciplinary process that can punish the doctor with penalties ranging from confidential warning and censorship, public censorship and suspension of professional practice for up to 30 days. In extreme cases, it may expire from professional practice, in this case, depending on the validation of the Federal Council of Medicine.
Check out the manifesto below:
Madness is not tortured and voices will not be silent: Manifesto in support of the anti-asylum fight and of federal deputy Alexandre Padilha.
We, signatories to this manifesto, demonstrate in solidarity in support of deputy Alexandre Padilha, who is being attacked for having publicly criticized the abusive and backward changes promoted by the Bolsonaro government in mental health policy.
Counselors of the Regional Council of Medicine of the State of São Paulo (CREMESP) opened an investigation against the infectious disease physician, professor, former Minister of Health and federal deputy Alexandre Padilha, for violation of the Medical Code of Ethics, following a physician’s complaint.
Complaint based on a manifestation of Congressman Padilha in his profile of a social network with the title “Madness does not hold, madness does not torture”, where he made a forceful criticism to the change in the direction of public resources in the mental health care policy by the current government. Change that breaks with the anti-asylum policy, consolidated in Brazil and in the world, which has freedom as a therapeutic practice as an axis, an important civilizing achievement of our country and the general struggle for the defense of life.
This shift in public mental health policy by the Bolsonaro government was widely criticized by specialists and scholars in the field of mental health at the time in several public demonstrations that helped build the criticism carried out on Padilha’s social network page.
Freedom of expression and expression are one of the basic principles of the organization of our society and democracy ensured by the Constitution of the Republic of 1988. In recent years, unfortunately, several Brazilian actors and organizations have acted against this right, aiming at criminalization, stigma and punishment of those who freely manifest themselves in defense of the dignity of the human person in its multiple facets, especially public health. We cannot accept being gagged.
The decision by the CREMESP Councilors to continue this absurd process is a clear attack on the historic struggle of a humanized and anti-asylum mental health policy and also an attack on freedom of expression It is, therefore, an attack not only on deputy Alexandre Padilha but to all who defend democracy and the right to care in freedom.
In this way, we, defenders of democracy and freedom of expression, of a humanized and anti-asylum mental health policy, based on the autonomy of users and respecting the history of struggles and popular movements, manifest in solidarity with the ex-minister and deputy Alexandre Padilha and in the unrestricted defense of democracy and mental health where madness is not caught or tortured.