The Special Committee of the Chamber of Deputies approved, this Thursday night (16), a proposal for counter-terrorist actions (PL 1595/19), which, according to opposition congressmen, makes room for the criminalization of popular movements. The project creates an anti-terrorism policy subordinated to the Presidency of the Republic.
The original proposal is from deputy Vitor Hugo (PSL-GO), who took advantage of the content of a project presented by then deputy Jair Bolsonaro and filed in 2019 (PL 5825/16). There were 22 votes in favor and 7 against.
The proposal will go on for analysis in the Chamber’s plenary. In all, the discussion and voting on the base text and highlights lasted 8 and a half hours, ending in the early hours of this Friday (17).
The text creates the National System (SNC) and the National Counterterrorism Policy (PNC), under the supervision of the Institutional Security Office, linked to the Planalto Palace.
Discussion of the proposal was harshly criticized by the opposition. Deputy Talíria Petrone (PSOL-RJ) stated that the text is unconstitutional and creates a “parallel police” to contain the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) and other groups already classified as “terrorists” by President Jair Bolsonaro himself (without party) and its supporters.
“To take a broad and open idea of what terrorism is is to open a breach, yes, to criminalize those who fight for land and those who fight for labor rights, to criminalize those who want urban reform and agrarian reform. What is wanted here is to create a parallel police in the service of Bolsonaro and his coup-taking and anti-democratic drive”, said the deputy.
Opposition leader Deputy Alessandro Molon (PSB-RJ), argued that a law in force since the 2016 Olympics (Law 13.260/16) already provides the instruments for Brazil to face international terrorism, defined as a series of acts “ committed for the purpose of provoking social or generalized terror” that exposes people, property and public peace to danger.
EXCLUDING FROM ILLICIT
Another risk pointed out is the possible increase in the hypothesis of excluding illegality for counter-terrorist actions, which, for deputy Paulo Teixeira (PT-SP), would be a “license to kill”.
Five opposition deputies even presented separate votes as possible alternatives to Sanderson’s report. Paulo Teixeira, Fernanda Melchionna (Psol-RS), Orlando Silva (PCdoB-SP) and Perpétua Almeida (PCdoB-AC) asked for the rejection of the original project, while Lieutenant Gonzaga (PDT-MG) suggested a new, less controversial substitute.
Perpétua Almeida said the bill “meets President Bolsonaro’s exclusive interest in having his own police.”
“Brazil already has Abin [Agência Brasileira de Inteligência], Armed Forces, Federal Police and military police, all with real power to investigate and punish someone who is involved in a terrorist act in the country”, he declared.
The proposal approved by the commission does not exclude Abin’s attribution to carry out the activities of prevention and strategic monitoring of terrorism, through the collection and search of intelligence data and the production of knowledge.
According to the text, the Legislative will be responsible for the control and inspection of counter-terrorist actions. The external oversight body of Congress will be made up of Majority and Minority leaders in the House and Senate; by the presidents of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense, and Public Security and Combating Organized Crime committees of the Chamber; and by the chairs of the corresponding Senate committees.
The creation of the National Counterterrorist Authority, responsible for conducting national policy with the military and police authorities, and two “strategic units” are planned: the Joint Special Operations Command, commanded by a general officer of the Armed Forces, and the Group National Special Operations.
Rapporteur Sanderson (PSL-RS) stated that the proposal only allows for the integrated action of military, police and intelligence units in preventing and combating terrorism in Brazil. The rapporteur also rejected the main criticism of the opposition, regarding the risks of the text for social movements and democracy.
“At no time does the project criminalize social movements or any kind of attack or risk to democracy. We removed the article that established a criminal offense for insubordination [de agentes de segurança] and, as a result, the bill does not have any penal device, nor is there any penal procedural device”, said Sanderson.
“They are administrative commands that create the National Counterterrorist System, so that the intelligence agencies, the police agencies and the Armed Forces are able to anticipate the location of possible terrorist cells,” he said.
*With information from Agência Câmara.
Edition: Anelize Moreira