Netherlands not welcome at inauguration of Surinamese president
Surinam has announced that the Dutch ambassador is not welcome to Thursday’s inauguration ceremony of Desi Bouterse as president in Paramaribo.
Surinam is a former Dutch colony. Desi Bouterse has been persona non grata in the Netherlands since he was convicted in absentia in the Netherlands for drugs offences in 2000. However, as president he enjoys immunity and the Netherlands must allow him a visa if he wants to visit an international organisation. Caretaker foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said the Netherlands will only contact Mr Bouterse 'on the basis of functional necessity’, when Mr Bouterse was elected.
Outgoing president Ronald Venetiaan says he is considering not handing over his official chain directly to his successor.
The transfer of power is sensitive as Desi Bouterse first came to power in Surinam in a coup d’état in 1980. On 8 December 1982, during his military regime, 15 opponents were tortured and murdered. Later Mr Bouterse admitted formal responsibility for the incident. A trial for the murders has not been concluded.
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