The Surinamese court martial has again sentenced former president Desi Bouterse to twenty years in prison for his involvement in the December murders of 1982. Surinamese news website Star news Monday. The judges thus maintain the sentence that Bouterse was imposed in 2019 in the first instance. The court-martial has again not yet ordered any imprisonment, which would mean that the former president will not be detained.
After his first trial, at which Bouterse was never present, the former president protested. As a result, the court martial had to reconsider his case. When the council imposed the same punishment on him on Monday, 75-year-old Bouterse was again not present. He had called in sick. When the sentence was pronounced in July, Bouterse was present. He then spoke of a “biased criminal trial”.
Bouterse has been convicted of co-perpetrating the murder of fifteen opponents of his military regime. Those murders took place on December 9, 1982, and have gone down in history as the December Murders. The former president’s lawyer has already indicated that he will appeal against Monday’s verdict, reports Star news. If he indeed does this, it means that the Surinamese Court of Justice will have to deal with the case.
According to lawyer Gerard Spong, who has championed the December murder trial for years, such an appeal will be “suspended from execution”. Born in Suriname, Spong lost friends and colleagues during the murders in Fort Zeelandia in 1982 and is an expert on Surinamese law. He had expected this verdict, he told ANP news agency. “It was already based on an extensive default judgment with 56 pieces of evidence. There was no getting in the way.”