Convicted Suriname President Remains Defiant

xi-and-bouterse
Suriname's President Desi Bouterse (R) with China's President Xi Jinping (L) as they reviewED a military honour guard during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 27, 2019. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Dec. 2, 2019: Convicted murderer and sitting President, Desi Bouterse of Suriname, remained defiant in the face of Friday’s court ruling Sunday night.

Bouterse returned to the Caricom nation of Suriname from a visit to China Sunday and was greeted by a crowd of some 1,500 supporters dressed in purple, the colour of his National Democratic Party. “We want Bouta!” some chanted as security struggled to control them.

Reacting to a Surinamese court ruling that found him guilty of murder in absentia for the 1982 execution of 15 activists in the former Dutch colony, Bouterse said he was a victim of a “political game.”

“The political game is played openly, so it was clear what was going to happen,” Bouterse, 74, was quoted by Reuters as saying during a news conference at a nearby resort. “We will stay within the law and regulations. Politics needs to be answered with politics.”

He faces 20 years in prison for the murders of those who spoke out against his seizure of power in a February 1980 coup and said he will appeal the decision.

Opposition parties have called for Bouterse to step down.

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