Netherlands: Suriname President welcome, behind bars
20 July 2010
“Putsch leader Bouterse is president,” headlines Trouw in the wake of the election of Desi Bouterse in the Republic of Suriname. The former Chairman of the National Military Council and leader of a putsch that overthrew the South American country’s government in 1980 is a pariah in the Netherlands, where he was tried in absentia in 2000 and sentenced to 11 years for drug trafficking. Bouterse is also suspected to be behind the 1982 killing of 15 opponents of the military regime known as the “December murders.” A tribunal on the killings is still in progress in Paramaribo, the capital of the former Dutch colony, which won independence in 1975. “The only welcome he will receive will be in a prison cell,” warned the Dutch Minister of Justice, Maxime Verhagen, quoted by the daily.