London, Apr 20: Human rights campaigners have reportedly expressed their alarm over proposed Brazilian anti-terrorism legislation that they fear will be used to crack down on legal protests during the World Cup.
Although Brazil currently has no anti-terrorism laws, however, the Brazilian National Congress is now considering the Bill 449, which would create a penalty of 15 to 30 years in prison for ‘causing or inciting widespread terror by threatening or trying to threaten the life, the physical integrity or the health or liberty of a person’.
According to The Guardian, although the government insisted that the new law is necessary as the high-profile international event could be a target for violent extremists, however, lawyers, politicians, NGOs and protest organisers warn that the proposed bill could allow security forces unprecedented powers to arrest demonstrators.
Critics also warned that the two challenges – terrorism and protest – are at risk of being conflated as the government attempts to push World Cup-related legislation through Congress with a politician saying that the bill may let the state even criminalise social protest.
Amnesty International said the draft legislation could worsen the already dire record of Brazil’s police in dealing with public unrest and ‘puts freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly at risk’. (ANI)