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The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) of Suriname has again demanded a 20-year prison sentence against former President Desi Bouterse for his involvement in the killing of fifteen political opponents in 1982.
Prosecutors have also now explicitly stated that Bouterse must be imprisoned if convicted. This “prison” was not specifically mentioned by the judiciary.
At the time of his conviction, in 2019, Bouterse was still president. He was also sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the December murders. He resisted the military court, which also handed down the same sentence in 2021, but also did not demand his arrest. The case has been under appeal since July.
A court ruling is expected later this year. Bouterse is currently the leader of the largest opposition party in Suriname.
Bouterse himself has long denied any involvement in the December killings. It is believed that he is only politically responsible, since he was the head of the army in 1982. Bouterse always describes the lawsuit as politically motivated.
On the first day of appeal, at the end of July last year, Bouterse said A number of statements of innocence were not included in the original ruling. He also denied premeditation in the murders. According to the former leader, the victims went out for a coup and were killed by soldiers while they were fleeing.
Return to Fort Zeelandia
At the end of November Boutersse visited the fortress of Zeelandia for the first time as a suspect, the place where it is located The murders have been committed. The Court of Justice held a hearing here in the hope that memories would emerge between the suspects and witnesses in the case. Bouterse said after the hearing that he tried to “remember” it.
Also, see a retrospective of the December crimes below:
A look back at the December 1982 Suriname murders
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