PARAMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – An attorney representing President Desi Bouterse says the allegations that he is involved in drugs are just fabrications to hinder his attempts to quash a damning drug conviction.
Criminal lawyer Inez Weski said a motion to overturn Bouterse's 1999 drug conviction would be filed soon with the Court of Appeals in the Netherlands.
“I cannot shake the impression that the arbitrary explanation given to a fragment of a conversation in which Bouterse may have been mentioned, is being used to incriminate my client. All of this just as I am in advanced stage of proving how unfounded the 1999 sentence is,” Wezki said.
Dutch police recently reported that the word “Bouta”, the soubriquet by which Bouterse is known, was heard in a taped phone conversation of cocaine smuggler Piet Wortel.
Wortel was arrested a few months ago in Barcelona for involvement in large cocaine shipments. He reportedly said that “Bouta” would see to it that a drug plane which had crashed recently in Suriname’s hinterland, carrying 400 kilograms of coke, would be safe and that all “Bouta” wanted in return was 200 kilograms of the cocaine.
“It’s all circumstantial (releasing the tapes) is judicially a far-reaching and reckless action. Nowhere in the taped conversations is there any mention of cocaine or drugs. It’s all loose fragments, pieces of conversation glued together and interference that lasted for several minutes.
“The fragments do not show any relationship between the people who are mentioned, and the subject. But still that didn’t withhold the investigators to give a criminal explanation to what they heard.”
She said the entire investigation against Wortel, whom she also represents, is based on hearsay.
“They didn’t even check if people who they say form a drug cartel with Mr. Wortel actually know each other, but they rather went ahead and constructed their own versions from rumors and unfounded pieces of text, as they always do,” said Wezki.
Meanwhile, Police here say there are no reports of an aircraft crashing in the interior.
“The Netherlands is again trying to blacken Mr. Bouterse’s and Suriname’s reputations with a smear campaign, because they just cannot accept that Suriname is making economic advancement without their help,” said Foreign Minister Winston Lackin.
Bouterse, who led a military coup in February 1980 was convicted in absentia in 1999 and given an 11 year sentence. He appealed the conviction but the Appellate Court confirmed the sentence in October 2001.
Bouterse has always insisted on his innocence though, saying the sentence was politically motivated by the Netherlands.
Following his electoral victory in 2010, the Netherlands immediately stopped development aid to Suriname adding that Bouterse would only be welcomed to the European country if he is prepared to begin his jail term.