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Governor Urges Freezing of Kidnapping Victims’ Assets

January 28, 1995

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ The only way to stop a recent surge in kidnappings is to freeze the assets of kidnap victims, the governor of Rio de Janeiro state says.

Gov. Marcello Alencar said he reached this conclusion after the kidnapping Tuesday of Dr. Ivan Lemgruber, a prominent gynecologist. Lemgruber was seized at his office by armed men dressed as doctors.

It was the sixth kidnapping in Rio de Janeiro state this month. Newspaper reports say 14 people are still held, although police will not confirm the number.

The kidnappings are thought to be related to a military campaign to stop drug trafficking, which has pushed drug gangs into other crimes.

Alencar said he would ask President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to introduce a law in Congress or issue a decree allowing authorities to freeze the assets of kidnap victims and their families.

A similar law in Italy is credited with a sharp drop in the number of kidnappings there since 1990.

``We can’t reason based on the ... immediate sentiments of the family,″ Alencar said. ``We have to protect the family within a broader vision.″

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