Dutch police end co-operation with Suriname
The Netherlands' police forces will terminate all training and investment projects in Suriname because of the appointment of Desi Bouterse as its new president. Mr Bouterse was convicted in absentia in the Netherlands to an 11-year jail sentence for drugs trafficking. He is also the main suspect in a political murder trial in Suriname.
Dutch police were helping their colleagues in the South-American country by providing training for arrest teams and anti-terrorism squads. They were also assisting in the building of six new police stations in Suriname.
Pleasant The head of Amsterdam's police, Superintendent Bernard Welten, speaking on behalf of all of his colleagues, told reporters that Dutch police had enjoyed years of pleasant co-operation with the Suriname corps. "But a continuation of this has been made impossible by the appointment of the new president. The Netherlands' police cannot be seen to be associated with the new people in power in Suriname," he said.
The Dutch public prosecutor's office told NOS tv earlier that its attitude would not change following the inauguration of Desi Bouterse. "As a country, the Netherlands will honour its commitments to Suriname without any changes, unless developments make this impossible. The public prosecutor will conform to this policy."
After Mr Bouterse's election to the presidency, the Netherlands' caretaker Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said that the new Surinamese head of state would be welcome to the Netherlands - but only to serve his jail sentence.
Army coup Suriname is a former colony of the Netherlands which gained independence in 1975. Five years later, an army faction led by Sergeant Desi Bouterse seized power; in December of 1982 fifteen opponents of the military regime were tortured and killed, allegedly under the orders of Mr Bouterse.
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