Former Surinamese president Bouterse ineligible to enter United States

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on former Surinamese President Desiré Delano Bouterse and six former Surinamese military officials for alleged “gross violations of human rights.”

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller who made the announcement said the decision of the US government follows the conviction of Bouterse and the six other ex-military officers for their part in the so-called ‘December murders’, a crime in which soldiers led by Bouterse  executed 15 political opponents in Fort Zeelandia on December 8, 1982.

Bouterse was then commander of the army and de facto head of government of Suriname, after coming to power through a military coup on February 25, 1980. 

Four family members of the seven convicted ex-military officers are also banned from entering the US.

 However, their names were not mentioned in the statement.

“The United States is today announcing the designations of former Surinamese President Bouterse and six former Surinamese military officials: Benny Brondenstein, Stephanus Marinus Dendoe, Iwan Dijksteel, Ernst Gefferie, Kenneth Kempes, and Lucien Lewis pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to their involvement in extrajudicial killings of political opponents during the “December Murders” of 1982. These individuals and four family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States,” the statement said.

It further stated that the United States commends Suriname for its commitment to the rule of law, including its effort to maintain judicial independence and combat official impunity. 

Bouterse and the seven ex-soldiers were sentenced to long prison terms by the Court Martial on November 19, 2019. 

The ex-army leader was given an unconditional prison sentence of 20 years, while Brondenstein, Gefferie, Dijksteel, Lewis and Kempes were given sentences ranging from 10 to 15 years.
Dijksteel, Bouterse, Dendoe, Gefferie and Bronstein appealed against the verdict but in December last year, the Court of Justice confirmed the convictions.
Brondenstein and Dendoe checked themselves into a penal institution in January and are currently serving their sentences.

However, Bouterse and Dijksteel did not show up and are still on the run.

 After an arrest warrant was issued against them nationally by the Public Prosecution Service, Bouterse and Dijksteel were placed on Interpol’s international wanted list. 

Earlier this week , several civil society organizations and relatives of the victims of the December murders sent an open letter to President Santokhi and the Attorney General urging that the authorities make more efforts to track down and arrest Bouterse and Dijksteel, so that their imprisonment may be imposed.

The post Former Surinamese president Bouterse ineligible to enter United States appeared first on

Leave a Reply