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Witness describes Suriname’s former dictator as psychopath

By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname Correspondent
Email: [email protected]

PARAMARIBO, Suriname — A witness in the murder trial against Suriname’s former military strongman Desi Bouterse described the ex-dictator as a psychopath for his alleged role in the December 1982 killings of 15 of his political opponents.

Desi Bouterse

Meanwhile in the latest twist of events in the ongoing trial, Bouterse’s ex-mistress in emails to this witness noted that he shouldn’t use her as his alibi for the night of the murders in the then military headquarters in Paramaribo, Fort Zeelandia. For years rumours has been circulating that the former army commander has a strong alibi, since he allegedly was at his ex-mistress’ home at the time of the executions.

When the court martial resumed here Wednesday, Henry Does, a physician, testified that Bouterse paid an unexpected and unarranged visit to his mistress Rita Chin A Loi in the night of December 8, 1982, to create “the perfect alibi”.

During his testimony the witness was reading from confidential emails sent to him by Chin A Loi, who is his sister-in-law. In the emails she revealed that when Bouterse arrived at her doorsteps that night he was “a broken and very desperate man who showed remorse”.

In the emails to Does she further noted that she choose to stay with the army commander and in doing so she was able to control the “inner beast” in him. She recalled that after his arrival, Bouterse received a phone call, subsequently related to her that 15 men were killed during an attempt to escape and went back to sleep.

The winess described Bouterse as a psychopath, because according to him, no normal individual will go back to sleep after receiving a phone call that 15 people have been murdered, while they were in his custody.

The fact that for years she has been named as Bouterse’s alibi, the ex-mistress calls “nonsense” in one of her email-letters. “Me as his alibi is nonsense. I am convinced that he came to sleep at my house on purpose. Bouterse has no right to hide behind my small shoulders. He has only one place to seek refuge and that is his conscience. I told him that already,” Rita Chin A Loi, wrote to Does.

The witness told the court that although the emails were confidential he had a moral obligation to disclose them since this was in the interest of the mothers, widows and children of the victims and the entire Surinamese nation. At the time of the killing Does was a friend of slain journalist Bram Behr, one of the 15 victims in the December 8, 1982 massacre.

The two men were co-workers at the Mokro periodical, a small publication which was very critical of the then military government. Does testified that Behr was against contra coups and military invasions and could have never been involved in any conspiracy with the CIA to overthrow the government in 1982. The witness further noted that the executions were no incident but part of a sinister plan to oppress the Surinamese people.

Bouterse, who seized power in a February 1980 military coup, is the main suspect in this murder trial along with 24 co-defendants including army officers, former cabinet ministers, politicians and civilians.

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Winsome Murphy