Facebook blocks livestream of hunger strike incurably ill Frenchman

An incurably ill Frenchman wants to stream his hunger strike and eventual death live, but Facebook does not allow this. 57-year-old Alain Cocq is disappointed with the platform; his action was meant as a protest against the ban on euthanasia in France.

Streaming a suicide is against the rules of Facebook, the company said in a response to press agency AFP. But Cocq thinks the decision violates freedom of speech. He calls on his 23,000 followers to put pressure on Facebook.

Letter from President Macron

The incurably ill man refuses to eat, drink or take medication until the law is amended. He had personally requested President Macron to be allowed to commit euthanasia. “Since I am not above the law, I cannot comply with your request,” was his response in a letter. Cocq then decided to go on hunger strike.

Cocq has been suffering for 34 years now from a rare condition that causes the walls of his blood vessels to stick together. He says he is in constant pain. Until Friday he received tube feeding. “The road to salvation begins, and believe me, I am happy,” he said that evening in a Facebook video from his hospital bed in the city of Dijon.

Unbearable suffering

Unlike in the Netherlands and Belgium, voluntary termination of life in the event of hopeless suffering is not permitted by law in France. Opponents of euthanasia, such as the Catholic Church, have moral objections.

A law passed in 2016 states that only so-called palliative sedation is allowed in France. This means that a dying person is put to sleep and anaesthetised, but remains alive. Cocq wants the law to be broadened so that suicide in case of unbearable suffering is also possible.