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CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

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The Guyana government says it has refused a request from an un-named foreign country to arrest Suriname’s head of state, Desi Bouterse, who was convicted in absentia on  drug charges by a Netherlands court in 1999. 
“A foreign mission asked us if we will arrest the President of Suriname when he comes here because he is wanted somewhere else and I said to them ‘No’,”  President  Bharrat Jagdeo told members of the Guyana Defence Force at the opening of their annual conference. 
Bouterse’s first overseas trip as president was made to Guyana in early September, 2010. He has since made a second visit in November.
Jagdeo, answering questions from GDF officers, recalled telling the unnamed foreign mission that they should find other countries willing to arrest Bouterse because the former coup leader had been democratically elected to govern the Dutch speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
“If people of Suriname overwhelmingly choose him as their leader, who are we as Guyanese to say who we should work with,” Jagdeo said,
In 1980, Bouterse seized power in a military coup and ruled until November 1987 when he lost the general elections. 
In December 1990 he seized power again through a so-called “telephone-coup”, but again lost the general elections in May 1991.  
The former military strongman is also before the court for the December 1982 murders of 15 political opponents of his then-military government.
If found guilty,  Bouterse could face up to 20 years in jail. (CMC)

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