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Private Militia | Does the Black Bloc Fit the Bill?


Source: Midiacon News

Topic: Use of anti-militia law against Black Bloc protestors? In a handful of cases recently, military police PR office — the “open mouth, insert foot” division — has hinted or stated without evidence that “militia” groups are to blame for some of the fighting in the streets,

But no one say so categorically, and I am skeptical.

A typical militia case will find ample evidence heavy armament, protection and gambling rackets, black market cable TV and Internet, and electoral “corrals” — as in “Vote Quimby or else.” It is too busy making money to be marching in the streets.

In this case , however, a group of 11 protestors appear to be defined by police in terms of the anti-militia law passed last year.

On September 2, the state judicia police of Minas Gerais indicted 11 protestors who marched in Belo Horizonte on Independence Day, based on a change to the Penal Code made by Preside Rousseff a year ago that increases penalties for the formation of armed militias  and death squads.

The investigation into individual responsibilities of the protestors, who were arrested in flagrante on Saturday, September 7 will begin as their cases are handedover to prosecutors on Friday. The 11 were charged with forming an armed militia — 228-A of the Penal Code …

The change, which increases penalties for these crimes, defines militia membership as “constituting, organizing, maintaining or funding a paramilitary group, private militia, or group or squad whose reason for being is to practice crimes provided for in the Penal Code.”

Also signed by the ministery of Justice, José Eduardo Cardozo and human rights minister Maria do Rosário, the amendent was based in part on a parliamentary commission of inquiry in the lower house regarding death squads and private militias.

The 11 subjects were arrested during a violent clash near the World Cup Clock, in Liberty Square, in the historic center of Belo Horizonte, where the Polician Military (PM) of Minas Gerais has its headquarter. The group is accused of wrecking the clock, assaulting on-duty police with obscene gestures and cursing, and branding together for the practice of crimes.

Civil police captain Hugo e Silva, in charge of the investigation, said the police is working to guarantee that “protests not be exploied by those who seize the moment to practice violence, attack public property and commit other crimes.

“Free speech is a right of the people in a democratic country like ours. And democracy also presupposes respect for the laws, something that a minority, unfortunately, refuse to do,” said Silva.

The 2012 Statute

Source: OESP, September 29, 2012

President Dilma Rousseff today signed Law No. 12.720, which amends the Penal Code of 1940 and makes it a crime to form death squads or private militias, with sentences ranging from 4 to 8 years.

Under the new law, sentences will be increased by one-third to one-half if the crime is committed by a private militia on the pretext of providing security services, or by a death squad. A provision was also inserted about the formation of a private militia. Thus, those who “constitute, organize, belong to, maintain or fnance” such paramilitary groups belong to a private militia, group or squad with the objective of practiing crimes.

Previously, members of such groups were penalized based on the  Penl Code of 1940, … when ties to a militia were uncertain, the defendant responded for homicide or extortion. Now, merely belonging to such a criminal group will lead to punishment.

The emerge of militias is a recente thing — it developed long after the emergence of the death squads, which were often formed by police paid by business owners and achieved a certain notoriety in the 1950s.

Now, the militias have gained ground, especailly in Rio, where they came to be considered an option to the dominance of the drug trade. A commission of the state assembly of Rio in 2008 formed to study these groups, in which police and firemen often play a role, ended up accusing 225 persons, including politicians. incluindo políticos.

Black Blocs & Punkers

The confusion during the Indpendence Day celebration began during the official parade on Saturday morning, which the public was not invited to attend. Some 5,000 persons gathered in the  area where the parade would be held in order to protest.

After the parade, in the early afternoon, 100 protestors occupied the Sete Plaza, the main square of Belo Horizonte and protested the lack of quality education and public health, as well as the disappearance of construction helper Amarildo in Rio de Janeiro and U.S. president Barack Obama because of the espionage case in Brazil and the support given Syrian rebels.

Nearly 30 protestors of the self-styled “punks,” “Black Blocs,” and Anonymous, left the Sete, walked up Bahia street to Liberty Square, where some covered their faces and the violence assaults on property began.

The Militia Law: “A Disaster”

Luiz Flávio Gomes believes the bill is a “disaster.”

Cláudio Varela, a Rio prosecutor had the following criticisms to offer against the law in question (O Globo de 06.10.12, p. 21):

(a) Previously the anti-militia law was comprehended by the definition of an armed gang, with sentences from 2 to 6 years. If the statute of heinous crimes applies, this may increase to from 6 to 12 years. The new law fixes the sentence at 4 to 8 anos (less than current legislation);

(b) the characteristics of a militia were used to elevate the standard sentence (which can no longer be done, because all suspects are part of a single criminal act  defined by art. 288-A);

It would be here that the law could add its special circumstances in order to subject defendants to the most rigorous treatment

(c) the vague terms in which the law was drafted  (“militia”, “group”, “squad”) will make the law difficult to apply

(d) The criminal motives of the militia are reduced to crimes defined in the Penal Code …

(e) Crimes such as black market cable TV, cooking gase, rimes como exploração ilegal de TV por assinatura, venda ilegal de GLP, zoning irregularities, loan sharking, torture, and so on. are not defined in the CP (and therefore, the meeting together of people to commit such crimes is not itself a crime under art. 288-A).

The renewed criminalization of militias is necessary, we think, but the new lay is causing more problems than the harsher sentences can solve. In recent years, the militias are a recurring theme: the legislature announces harsher penalties (a populist gesture but in practice everything is the same.

Another critcism that can be directed at the new law is its confidence (or demagogic certainty) that revised sentencing will suffice to quash the militia phenomenon. …