US imposes entry ban on ex-Surinamese president, former military officials

By Thomson Reuters Apr 12, 2024 | 8:49 PM

(Reuters) – The United States on Friday announced an entry ban on former Surinamese President Desi Bouterse and six former military officials, citing alleged involvement in the extrajudicial killings of political opponents in the 1980s.

“These individuals and four family members are generally ineligible for entry into the United States,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement, which said the officials had been involved in the so-called “December Murders”.

Bouterse, 78, dominated politics in the tiny South American country for decades, leading a coup in 1980 and finally leaving office in 2020.

Five years ago, he and six others were convicted for their role in the 1982 murders of 15 leading government critics, including lawyers, journalists, union leaders, soldiers and university professors.

Bouterse was sentenced to 20 years in prison but did not report to prison in January this year, triggering an international manhunt. He has yet to reappear.

“The United States commends Suriname for its commitment to the rule of law, including its effort to maintain judicial independence and combat official impunity,” it said.

Besides Bouterse, the former military officials banned are: Benny Brondenstein, Stephanus Marinus Dendoe, Iwan Dijksteel, Ernst Gefferie, Kenneth Kempes and Lucien Lewis.

(Reporting by Ank Kuipers; Writing by Oliver Griffin and Sarah Morland; Editing by Sonali Paul)