AFP Paramaribo, Suriname
Suriname President Desi Bouterse said he will seek re-election in the South American country despite being convicted of murder for the execution of political opponents.
“Of course, with big bold letters. You will not be able to miss the name,” Bouterse told a radio programme when asked if he would appear on the list of candidates for the May 2020 elections.
Bouterse, 74, returned on Sunday from a state visit to China and will appeal Friday’s judgement, according to his lawyer Irvin Kanhai.
A three-judge court convicted Bouterse over the executions of 15 regime opponents in December 1982 when he was the country’s military ruler.
A two-time coup leader, two-term president and convicted drugs-trafficker, Bouterse has dominated Suriname’s politics since taking power in a 1980 military coup.
The so-called “December killings,” in which the regime rounded up and executed 13 civilians and two military officers, have long clouded Bouterse’s rule.
The president said he would address a meeting of his National Democratic Party (NDP) on Friday where a team of legal experts would explain the verdict to lawmakers.
On the radio programme — hosted by the government spokesman — Bouterse thanked party supporters who turned out at the airport to greet him on his return from China on Sunday.
“People are playing a political game with me and the supporters came to power me, to support me,” he said.
He also snubbed calls from lawmakers for his resignation after being convicted on Friday over the executions when he was the country’s dictator in the 1980s.
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