Suriname convicts President Bouterse of murder for 1982 executions

Please... keep it civil!!! No swearing or name-calling (at each other). And we already know what most politicians are...
Post Reply
User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 31674
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Suriname convicts President Bouterse of murder for 1982 executions

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Dec 01, 2019

https://www.scmp.com/news/world/america ... urder-1982

Suriname court convicts President Desi Bouterse of murder for 1982 executions
Reuters - Associated Press
30 Nov, 2019

Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse at a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: EPA-EFESuriname’s President Desi Bouterse at a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: EPA-EFE
Suriname’s President Desi Bouterse at a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: EPA-EFE

A court in Suriname on Friday convicted President Desi Bouterse of murder for the execution of 15 opponents in 1982 during an earlier term as military ruler of the South American country after he and other soldiers led a violent coup to seize power.

The court sentenced Bouterse, who is currently in China on an official visit, to 20 years in prison.

The decision by a panel of three judges marked the end of a historic trial that began in November 2007, although it was not immediately clear what happens next.

Bouterse, 74, has dominated much of the history of Suriname since its 1975 independence from the Netherlands. He led the country of 560,000 people through the 1980s, assumed office again in 2010 and secured re-election five years later.

The military court on Friday ruled that Bouterse had overseen an operation in which soldiers under his command abducted 16 leading government critics from their homes and killed 15 of them at a colonial fortress in Paramaribo.

Victims in the case, known as the “December killings”, included some of the most prominent citizens of Suriname such as lawyers, journalists and a university professor.

One trade union leader survived and later gave testimony against Bouterse.

The judges did not issue an arrest order, and Bouterse’s attorney, Irvin Kanhai, immediately appealed the decision, calling it a “political verdict”.

Shortly after the court issued its decision, the government asked Suriname residents to remain calm. “Democracy remains of paramount importance,” officials said in a statement.

Hugo Essed, a lawyer for relatives of the victims, said Bouterse should step down immediately. “It’s a shame for him to remain as president,” he said.

Bouterse, who has steadfastly denied the charges, will have two weeks to appeal the decision.

The trial for the killings began in November 2007 and was hit by multiple setbacks, including efforts by Bouterse to end it.

Shortly after he was elected president in 2010, Bouterse pushed through an amnesty law only to see it ruled unconstitutional.

Then in 2016, he ordered Suriname’s attorney general to put a stop to legal proceedings in the name of national security, but a court ruled that he could not do so because the trial had already started.

At the time, the killings prompted the Dutch government to withdraw about US$90 million in annual aid from Suriname.

Critics have vilified Bouterse as a dictator who has clung to power in the country, which is sandwiched between Guyana and French Guiana on the northeastern shoulder of South America.

In 1999, he was convicted in absentia of drug trafficking by a court in the Netherlands, although he has denied any wrongdoing. A Suriname judge in 2005 convicted Bouterse’s son, Dino, of leading a gang that trafficked in cocaine, illegal arms and stolen luxury cars.

As a junior military officer, Bouterse took part in the 1980 coup against Suriname’s first prime minister, Henck Arron, and immediately promoted himself to army chief of staff, becoming effective ruler of the government.

Bouterse left the army in late 1992 and went into business and politics, heading the National Democratic Party (NDP) and remaining a prominent if controversial national figure.

Bouterse and his pro-military (NDP) have consistently tried to obstruct court proceedings, which began in 2007. In 2012, the NDP-controlled National Assembly passed an amnesty law giving him immunity in 2012, but a court ruling later invalidated that.

User avatar
bimjim
Forum Administrator
Forum Administrator
Posts: 31674
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006

Re: Suriname convicts President Bouterse of murder for 1982 executions

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Dec 01, 2019

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-am ... 55?SThisFB

Desi Bouterse: Suriname president gets 20 years in jail for murder
30 November 2019

Suriname's President Desi Bouterse has been sentenced to 20 years in prison over the execution of 15 political opponents in 1982. Bouterse, 74, is currently on an official visit in China and will have two weeks to appeal against the conviction.

He was found guilty of planning and ordering the extrajudicial execution of 15 political prisoners. The president has previously denied the allegations. He claimed the victims, who included lawyers, union leaders and journalists, were shot while trying to escape a colonial-era fortress in Paramaribo, the capital of the South American country.

Bourtese led Suriname during the 1980s as head of a military government and de facto leader. He took office as president in 2010, following a democratic election and was elected for another term in 2015.

The court ruled that the president had overseen an operation which involved soldiers under his command kidnapping 16 government critics, including lawyers, journalists and university professors. Only one of the detainees - a union leader - survived the killings and was able to testify against Bouterse.

Who is President Bouterse?

After playing an active role in a 1980 coup d'etat against Prime Minister Henck Arron, Bouterse was promoted to head of the army and made de facto leader of Suriname until 1987. He later left the army to lead the National Democratic Party (NDP), which came to power in 2010.

The party has repeatedly tried to halt this trial and six people accused of being involved have already died since it began 12 years ago. In 2012, the National Assembly passed an amnesty law granting Bouterse immunity, which was later invalidated by a court ruling.

In 1999, Bouterse was convicted in absentia for drug trafficking by a court in the Netherlands - allegations he denies.

Post Reply

Return to “Politics”