President Jair Bolsonaro sanctions Federal Law 14,197/21, revoking Brazilian National Security Law

In force since 1983, sanctioned by former President João Figueiredo, last military empowered, Brazilian National Security Law (“LSN” – in Portuguese) is coming to an end, after President Bolsonaro revoked it on September 1st, 2021.

LSN has been questioned by several public and civil entities since its creation, but more specifically on the last few months. It was created at the very end of Brazilian military regime, to protect, among other things, “territory integrity and national sovereignty” (article 1º).

This particular law was no novelty in the world, since there are several countries with similar legislation, foreseeing penalties for aggressions against the State. In fact, it wasn’t even a novelty in Brazil since there were at least 5 other laws with the same purpose.

In short, LSN was elaborated to protect Brazilian national sovereignty, the perfect function of all three branches of the government and the democracy itself. The law foresees crimes such as espionage, sabotage, the attempt of breaking-up the national territory, crimes against the life and health of the chiefs of all three branches, among other actions.

Federal Law 14,197/21, sanctioned on September 2021, states that Brazilian National Security Law shall be revoked in 90 days. However, many of the conducts of the law are still going to be considered as crimes, since they are going to be inserted in the Brazilian Penal Code, under the newly created chapter “Crimes against the Democratic State”. On the other hand, the conducts not brought to the Penal Code will no longer be considered crimes (the so called “abolitio criminis”).

President Bolsonaro used his power of veto on 4 articles of the law which had been approved by the Congress. One of these articles set forth the crime of spreading fake news with the capability of harming the electoral process. Two other articles provided for harsher penalties for crimes committed by military personal or public officers, two of the biggest supporters of the President.

Because of the presidential vetoes, Federal Congress has now 30 days to decide if the vetoes shall be maintained or taken down. If they don’t decide in 30 days, the Congress’s agenda shall be blocked until the voting.