Suriname president sentenced to 20 years in prison

Suriname president Desi Bouterse (Photo: AP News)

Suriname President Desi Bouterse has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. The ruling was handed down on Friday by a military court for his involvement in the 1982 murders of 15 political opponents of his then military government.

The verdict was praised in a joint statement issued by France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Last year, Bouterse’s lawyer asked the military court to acquit his client after branding the victims as “traitors”. In 2017, Bouterse along with 23 co-defendants appeared in the military court after the Court of Justice had earlier rejected a motion to stop the trial.

The political opponents murdered in 1982 included journalists, military officers, union leaders, lawyers, businessmen and university lecturers.

Bouterse is now on an official visit to China.