By Ivan Cairo
PARAMRIBO, Suriname — Lawyers for Dino Bouterse, son of Suriname’s President, Desi Bouterse, say that he was never involved in an terrorism plot against the United States, and has accused the US government of fabricating evidence against him.
“Mr. Dino Bouterse is not, and never has been a supporter of any terrorist organization and never intended to render aid to such an organization. The charges alleged in the indictment were initiated, instigated and invented by the United States government without any involvement of any terrorist or cartel organization and are an insult to our client and the good people of Suriname,” the lawyers say in a press release.
“This case seems more about justifying a multibillion dollar national security apparatus rather than investigating actual terrorists and criminals. The government spent innumerable and valuable resources on snaring a high profile target completely unrelated to such activities and organizations.”
According to Bouterse’s defense team, “Suriname is a peaceful South American nation, one of the more ethnically diverse and tolerant societies in the world with a long history of cordial relations with the US and its neighbours. Mr. Bouterse’s innocence will be maintained at trial”.
Bouterse is represented in court by Richard Rosenberg, Michael Hueston, Florian Miedel and Jose M. Arrufat-Gracia.
Manhattan District Attorney Preet Bharara Friday announced additional charges against the defendant, claiming that earlier this year in exchange for a multi-million pay-off, he agreed “to allow large numbers of Hezbollah operatives to use Suriname as a permanent base for, among other things, attacks on American targets”.
The unsealed indictment further allege that “in furtherance of his efforts to assist Hezbollah, Bouterse has supplied a false Surinamese passport for the purpose of making clandestine travel easier, including travel to the United States”.
The indictment gives a detailed description of the alleged meetings and talks between Bouterse, a co-defendant and men who purported to be connected to a Mexican narcotics trafficking organization, who also claimed to have ties with Hezbollah, but who were in fact confidential sources to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The meetings which were audio- and video recorded allegedly took place in Suriname, Greece and Panama. Bouterse, son of Suriname’s president Desi Bouterse, was arrested in Panama on August 29th and subsequently extradited to the US for prosecution.
Bharara said Friday: “Today we add an additional charge of attempting to support Hezbollah to Dino Bouterse’s alleged crimes connected to a cocaine-smuggling conspiracy. We will be relentless in our efforts, working with our law enforcement partners around the world, to pursue and prosecute those who seek to support terrorist organizations”.