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Suriname

Area: 163,270 sq. km
Population: 419,000
Languages: Dutch, English, Sranan Tongo
Type of state: republic
Head of state: President Ronald Venetiaan


Suriname - 2003 Annual Report

The press freedom situation is satisfactory. The justice system is still trying to investigate the 1982 killings of 15 opposition figures, including five journalists.

On 7 December 2002, Judge Albert Ramnewash ordered the exhuming of 15 opposition figures killed by the military dictatorship of Col. Desi Bouterse on 8 December 1982. Among them were Bram Behr, of the communist newspaper Mokro, André Kamperveen, owner of the radio station ABC, Josef Slagveer, head of the news agency Informa, Frank Wijngaarde, a journalist with ABC radio, and Lesley Rahmen, who worked with the daily paper De Ware Tijd.
The 15 were taken to army headquarters at Fort Zeelandia, in Paramaribo, and executed by the army after allegedly trying to escape. Their bodies will be autopsied with the help of Dutch pathologists. Bouterse was jailed for 11 years in absentia in Holland in 1998 for drug smuggling but lives undisturbed in Suriname. Former trade union leader Fred Derby, who was spared execution and died in 2001, said Bouterse ordered the killings.



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see also
2003 Africa Annual Report
2003 Asia Annual Report
2003 Europe Annual Report
2003 North Africa and the Middle East Annual Report