The new law defining membership in militias and death squads as a federal crime what published in today’s Official Diary. President Dilma Rousseff signed a law that amends a passage in the Penal Code dating back to 1940.
In the past, the code contained no language pertaining to militias, whose members were only prosecuted for other crimes, such a murder and extortion.
Among the crimes defined by the new legislation are establishing, organizing, participating in, and financing paramilitary organizations and private militias, groups, or squads. The crimes carry a sentence of 4 to 8 years in prison.
Under the new law, if a homicide is committed by a militia or death squad member under the pretext of a private security service, the sentence can be increased by as much as 50%.
In most cases, militia members are public security personnel who threaten and assault shantytown residents, forcing the community to pay for such services as cooking gas, black market cable TV and black market public transport.