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Suriname’s President sentenced to 20 years

Desi Bouterse, Suriname’s President has been sentenced to 20 years for ordering the exception of 15 political prisoners in 1982.

Those executed included lawyers, union leaders and journalists who fleeing from imprisonment in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname.

Bouterse initially came to power due to a military coup in 1980 after which he was promoted to the head of the army and then, in 1987, became de facto leader. In 2010 he was elected president and then in 2015 he was re-elected for another term.

Whilst Bouterse denies the charges, the court has maintained that the president oversaw the kidnapping of 16 government critics. Only one trade union leaders survived and was able to provide testimony. 

Bourterse’s political party has repeatedly attempted to impede justice and many of the alleged perpetrators have already died since the trials began 12 years ago.

Suriname’s National Assembly passed an amnesty law granting Bouterse immunity but this was later overalled by the court and ruled invalid.

Read the BBC’s reporting here.

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