Without a Trace
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Suriname’s former autocrat Desi Bouterse disappeared this week, a month after a court sentenced him to 20 years in prison for the murders of more than a dozen political opponents during his rule of the South American country in the 1980s, the Associated Press reported.
Bouterse and four others convicted in the case were ordered to report to various prisons last week, but only three have done so. After failing to report by Friday, authorities announced they were investigating those who failed to appear.
His wife, Ingrid Bouterse-Waldring, said she did not know where her husband was and added, “He is not going to jail!”
Bouterse’s National Democratic Party and supporters rallied at his house to show support, saying they disagreed with the sentencing.
Last month, a court found him guilty of the 1982 killings of 15 political opponents, marking the conclusion of a historic 16-year trial. He had previously been sentenced in 2019 and 2021, but appealed both rulings.
Last week, his lawyers appealed his sentence, arguing that an amnesty law Bouterse attempted to pass over a decade ago would apply. However, Suriname’s attorney general dismissed the appeal.
Bouterse came to power in a bloodless coup in 1980 and ruled until 1987. He and his allies have been accused of executing prominent individuals, including lawyers and journalists, in those years.
He was later democratically elected as president from 2010 to 2020.
He denied that he was present during the 1982 killings, but has accepted “political responsibility” for the murders.