30 November 2019
Desi Bouterse, (in picture) President of Surinam, was sentenced on Friday (29 November), while he was away in China on an official visit, to 20 years in prison over the execution of 15 political opponents in 1982. He was found guilty of planning and ordering the extrajudicial execution of 15 political prisoners. The military court that found him guilty has not yet ordered his arrest.
Victims, who included lawyers, union leaders and journalists, were shot while trying to escape a fortress in Paramaribo, the capital of the South American country, he claimed. He played an active role in a 1980 coup d’etat against Prime Minister Henck Arron and became president in 2010. After that he was elected unopposed for another term in 2015.
In 2012, the NDP-controlled National Assembly passed an amnesty law giving immunity to , Bouterse but that was later invalidated by a court ruling.
In July 1999, Bouterse was convicted in absentia in the Netherlands to 11 years in prison for trafficking 474 kilograms of cocaine.
Suriname with a population of 560,000 people, gained independence from the Netherlands in 1975.
Bouterse’s son Dino Bouterse was sentenced in 2005 to eight years’ imprisonment in a Surinamese court for narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, and theft of luxury vehicles. He was released early for good behaviour. He was appointed to a senior role in the government’s counter-terrorism department. On August 29, 2013, Dino was arrested by the U.S. government’s Drug Enforcement Administration in Panama while traveling on a diplomatic passport. He was extradited to the United States and taken to New York City. He was prosecuted and in March 2015, he was sentenced to a 16-year prison term on convictions of drug smuggling and trying to help Hezbollah set up a base in Suriname.
Before his arrest elaborate international sting was set up in which he was recorded meeting in Greece and Panama with DEA operatives posing as Hezbollah and Mexican drug traffickers.
Sydney Morning Herald reported.