RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Brazil enacted its first anti-terrorism law, for which Jewish officials had advocated.
President Dilma Rousseff approved the legislation this week calling for 12 to 30 years in a high-security prison for committing an act of terrorism in Latin America’s largest nation. Thirty years is the maximum length of imprisonment under Brazilian criminal law.
Officials of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, the country’s umbrella Jewish organization known as CONIB, had strongly supported the legislation, including writing Op-Eds in support that appeared in influential newspapers and magazines.
CONIB President Fernardo Lottenberg said the law makes Brazil and the Jewish community and better prepared to face the growing global threat of terrorism.
“There is only one way to face terrorism with efficiency: prevention,” Lotterberg said in a statement issued Thursday. “The concern with the recruitment network of the Islamic State scattered across Brazilian cities and on the internet has been growing and flagged by specialists. We have met congressmen and federal authorities many times to express the need for such legislation.”
The law defines terrorism as “the practice by one or more individuals of acts for the reason of xenophobia, discrimination or prejudice of race, color, ethnic group or religion with the aim to generate social or generalized terror, endangering people, assets, the public peace or safety.”
Rio de Janeiro will host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in August and terrorism has been a major concern in the country’s second largest city, which is home to some 40,000 Jews.