Already criticized by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), by specialists in the progressive field and segments that work in the defense of human rights, the Bolsonaro government’s proposal that tightens the Anti-Terrorism Law also faces resistance among entities that bring together public security professionals.
Together, ten entities in the sector point to concerns with aspects of the Bill (PL) 1595/2019 that they consider unconstitutional and invade the powers of agencies in the security area.
Defended by Pocket Members with a profile linked to the so-called “bullet bench”, the PL, in addition to tightening the Anti-Terrorism Law (No. 13.260/2016), extends the conduct that can be characterized as the practice of terrorism and fixes actions to be adopted by the State in cases that fall under this concept.
Among the predictions of the text, which is being processed today by a special committee of the Chamber of Deputies, is the creation of the so-called “national counter-terrorist authority”. The figure would be responsible for conducting the National Counterterrorism Policy (PNC), also provided for in the proposal, and would lead the work in the area.
The crime of terrorism is currently under investigation by the Federal Police, through the agency’s Police Intelligence Directorate, which has a central unit defined by law. The president of the National Association of Federal Police Delegates (ADPF), Edvandir Paiva, is concerned about the idea of concentrating the work in the area on a national authority.
“We don’t see the slightest need for an authority outside this structure to regulate the area of combating terrorism. We already have a body that does that, and it is a state body, which is the most important thing, because this anti-terrorism policy is a state policy. It should not be a government policy”, says the director, noting that the area follows specific guidelines and is referenced in international models.
In the list of organizations that have reservations to PL 1595 are, in addition to ADPF, the Association of Police Delegates of Brazil (Adepol-BR), the Brazilian Confederation of Civil Police Workers (Cobrapol) and the National Council of Representative Entities of Professionals of the Socio-educational System (Conasse).
Added to this list are the National Federation of State Military Officers (Feneme), the National Federation of Federal Police Delegates (Fenadepol), the National Union Federation of Penitentiary Servants and Criminal Police Officers (Fenasppen), National Federation of Municipal Guards Unions do Brasil (Fenarguardas), the National Federation of Workers in the Socio-Educational System (Fenasse) and the Brazilian Criminalistics Association (ABC).
These categories indicate that, by submitting more than 56,000 police officers to the direct orders of the chief executive, the proposal ignores the way in which the country’s public security system is constituted. “It ends up superimposing, to this system, an authority at the discretion designated by the President of the Republic with functions and attributions of public bodies. Look how serious this is”, exclaims the president of Adepol-BR, Rodolfo Laterza.
“Secondly, because it is a [proposta de] ordinary law and having attributions that are defined in the Constitution in relation to the Federal Highway Police, the Civil Police and the Military Police, it ends up conflicting the attributions of these bodies with this national authority, which would concentrate all the functions of these bodies in it. It’s unconstitutional and without any rationale,” observes Laterza.
The entities that bring together professionals from the police and other areas of public security are also afraid that the fight against terrorism will be politicized, including because of the fact that PL 1595 brings non-specific definitions for the conducts to be framed in this genre.
The same point has been made by different human rights entities that are working on the subject and accuse the proposal of opening the way for political traps. This is the case of the NGOs Terra de Direitos and Artigo 19, for example. To put it mildly, the fear of the segment is the criminalization of possible ideological opponents by governments on duty.
“There is the proposal that the PL establish new crimes of terrorism and we think that if we have to make an update on what terrorism is or is not, we have to follow international conventions, which are based on a stronger experience than the ours in this area. We cannot leave open definitions that can encompass actions that are not terrorism just for the will of those in power”, argues Edvandir Paiva.
The president of Adepol-BR states that the proposal under discussion in the Chamber “has serious problems of constitutionality” and lack of adequacy to the issues provided for in the Unified Public Security System (Susp), provided for in Law 13.675/2018.
“To make matters worse, it defines as criminal modalities situations not even provided for in our criminal legal system, as the appearance of an act of terrorism”, exemplifies Laterza, when criticizing the subjective and laconic character of certain sections of the PL.
He points out as an illustration Article 1 of the PL, according to which the new law “will also be applied to prevent and repress the execution of an act that, although not typified as a crime of terrorism, is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive in relation to some critical infrastructure, essential public service or key resource”.
The same passage also foresees, for this type of framing, an act that “apparently intends to intimidate or coerce the civilian population”. For the president of Adepol, an organization that brings together 30 police units, the device would need to be suppressed in its entirety for violating the principle that there is no crime without conduct.
“You have to have a serious conduct, defined by legislation that materially affects, that is, substantially, the interest, the value thus defined as relevant to society for you to be able to criminalize”, adds Laterza, stating that the lack of a A defined legal asset criminalizes conduct based on appearances.
The delegate emphasizes that this perspective adopted by the PL is unconstitutional and violates fundamental precepts adopted in the penal area.
“You cannot, in criminal law, punish the cogitation or the sphere of thought. It is something that is impossible in the component structure of a crime. In any crime, the punishment occurs from the beginning of the execution of the fact, and not by cogitation and thought”.
The critical notes made by the entities of security professionals were forwarded to the rapporteur of the PL, Deputy Sanderson (PSL-RS), through a proposal for a substitute.
The congressman has not yet presented an opinion on the project and should file the document in September, according to forecasts expressed during the debate sessions of the special commission that is studying the measure.
“We are listening to everyone and writing down every suggestion. The report will be presented based on the suggestions that were presented”, said the Pesselista during a public hearing with representatives of the police segment last Friday (27), at the Chamber.
One of the government’s deputy leaders in the House, Sanderson has also rebutted criticism from PL opponents. He denies that the proposal is aimed at the political criminalization of opponents of the administration.
“We want to present legislation to protect Brazilian society, never to debase it, never to withdraw any type of right or guarantee from anyone. On the contrary, it is to improve, providing conditions to safeguard society and the country”.
The proposal currently under debate in the Legislature was originally presented by Jair Bolsonaro through PL 5825, of 2016, when the politician was still a federal deputy. The measure was never voted on in the Chamber and was filed in January 2019.
Subsequently, the content of the bill was retrieved by Deputy Major Vitor Hugo (PSL-GO), through PL 1595/19, which had been stopped since that year, but now ranks among the priorities of the ultra-conservative congressmen of the Chamber, so it can go to the vote in September.
Edition: Anelize Moreira