Reporters Without Borders against amendment of Suriname amnesty act

(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the international press freedom watchdog, is strongly against the proposed amendment to the 1989 Amnesty Act.

Benoit Hervieux, RSF’s head Americas Desk, tells de Ware Tijd amending the Act is an insult to the victims and their families, and calls on the initiators of the controversial proposal to withdraw it.

“This amendment is an insult to the victims of these summary execution and their families. In the name of  André Kamperveen, Frank Wijngaarde, Leslie Rahman, Bram Behr and Jozef Slagveer, journalists who have paid with their lives for their convictions and have fought for democracy, we call on the six coalition members who submitted the proposal to withdraw it”, Hervieux says.

He says it is a disgrace that the proposal to grant amnesty to the murderers of 15 pro-democracy activists during the Bouterse dictatorship, including five journalists, has been submitted to Parliament.

“This person is an elected President now, and we remind him that when he was inaugurated, we called for justice and truth in the case of crimes from the past.” On 12 August 2010, when Bouterse was sworn in, RSF issued s a statement saying that while it respected the will of Suriname’s people, it should not be forgotten that he is on trial for the murder of five journalists in 1982.

“Even when legal proceedings are suspended during his presidency, it is still unacceptable if these murders remain unpunished”, RSF wrote then. The organization went even further, stating that the new Surinamese administration should realize that an election or amnesty is no solution to the problems of the past.

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