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Bolsonaro signs anti-crime bill designed to tackle violence in Brazil

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a promotion ceremony for generals of the armed forces, at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/Files

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has signed into law an anti-crime bill that toughens measures to stem a rampant deadly crime wave, although he vetoed some parts of the bill, the government said on Wednesday.

The anti-crime package, which was approved by Brazil’s Senate earlier this month, toughens laws to tackle corruption, organized crime and violent crime practiced by criminal gangs. It also simplifies sentencing in some cases.

The package was a major promise by Bolsonaro, a former army captain who surged to power last year on a campaign vowing to end years of corruption and spiraling violent crime. Brazil has the world’s highest number of murders.

“The final text that has been sanctioned by the President brings progress to the anti-crime legislation in the country,” Justice Minister Sergio Moro said in a statement early on Wednesday.

Moro, a former judge who made his name jailing scores of Brazil’s business and political elite in the “Operation Car Wash” investigation during the past five years, said Bolsonaro adopted several vetoes suggested by the Ministry of Justice.

Among the vetoes by the right-wing president was a provision to triple the sentence when a crime is committed or displayed in social networks.

The bill eliminates the restriction on the collection of genetic material only in cases of willful crime committed against life, sexual freedom or sexual crime.

Bolsonaro, who ran on a law-and-order platform, won support from Brazilians tired of the warring drug gangs that have come to terrorize large swaths of the country.

Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Leslie Adler