Suriname court to uphold ex-president's sentence

Suriname court seeks to uphold ex-president Desi Bouterse's sentence

by Staff Writer 1-2-2023 | 5:41 PM

COLOMBO (News 1st) - A request has been made to the Suriname High Court of Justice by prosecutors to uphold a 20-year jail sentence given to the country's former President Desi Bouterse. He was convicted in 2019 of ordering the extrajudicial execution of 15 political opponents in 1982 - seven years after Suriname's independence from the Netherlands.. 

Ever since the convivtion, the 74-year-old has been appealing against this ruling and cannot be arrested until the process ends. 

It is expected for the court to rule on the sentence later this year.

Desi Bouterse has denied involvement in the executions. He insists the victims were shot while trying to escape a colonial-era fortress in Paramaribo, which is the capital of the country.

An appeal hearing for the former President is currently under way. It is expected to last until the end of March, after which time the High Court will announce its decision on the sentence.

Recently he admitted in court that he had heard gunshots on the day the prisoners were killed. However, he insisted he did not order their execution.

Instead he has blamed his deputy, Paul Bhagwandas - who died in 1996 - for the deaths. Witnesses, however, testified that Bouterse was present when the victims, who included lawyers, union leaders and journalists, were killed.