(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO — A federal court in Manhattan, New York ruled yesterday that drugs trafficking suspect Dino Bouterse will not be released on bail.
The next hearing against the son of incumbent President Desi Bouterse is scheduled for November. Judge Shira Scheindlin presides over case 13-CR-0635 U.S. vs Bouterse. It is at yet uncertain how long this case will drag on. If sentenced, Bouterse might get a life term. Legal experts say a lower sentence is possible if Bouterse cooperates in the investigations and pleads guilty. However, Bouterse might not be found guilty. It all depends on the proof the federal prosecutor presents to the court and if she can prove the charges are justified.
The arrest of Bouterse’s son on 29 August in Panama caused quite a stir in Suriname and internationally. The Head of State thinks the timing is suspicious and was probably meant to obstruct the 7th Unasur summit being hosted in Suriname at the time. Bouterse had called the arrest and extradition to the American authorities a scenario to hurt Unasur.
At the arraignment on 30 August Dino Bouterse had pleaded not guilty. Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara has charged him with drugs trafficking. He and his accomplice Edmund Quincy Muntslag, also arrested on behalf of America, have allegedly smuggled 10 kilograms of cocaine into the US. Bharara claims that Bouterse has been trafficking drugs since December 2011 and the DEA has identified him as a significant trafficker.
Muntslag, arrested on 28 August in Trinidad and Tobago, is still detained on the Caribbean island in a maximum security detention centre. There is no indication why his extradition to the US has not been completed yet. Last week his mother traveled to Port of Spain to support him.