AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Thursday September 4, 2014, CMC – The guilty plea by the son of Suriname’s President, Desi Bouterse, in a United States court on terrorism charges has led to questions in the Dutch parliament on the safety of the European country.
Dino Bouterse, 42, who once held a senior counter-terrorism post in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, admitted in a New York federal court that he had tried to provide material support to the Lebanese terrorism organization, Hezbollah, which the United States has deemed a terrorist group.
Bouterse, who faces a sentence of between 15 years and life in prison, was accused of inviting people he believed to be from Hezbollah to establish a base in Suriname to attack Americans, in exchange for an initial two million US dollar payment.
His plea came a year after he was arrested in Panama and extradited to the United States on charges that he conspired to import cocaine into the United States. The charge relating to Hezbollah was added in November.
Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans faced a barrage of questions from legislators regarding the Bouterse case with one legislator, Han Ten Broeke, asking whether the foreign minister was aware of the Hezbollah link and whether the international acts of Hezbollah give rise for concern.
“What steps are the Dutch government undertaking, if possible, in cooperation with its NATO allies, to prevent Hezbollah and similar organizations from preparing attacks on the Netherlands,” Ten Broeke asked.
The questions follow a statement by the Suriname government that there were no terror cells active in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country and that Dino Bouterse never had the authority to make the deals he allegedly made with the “Hezbollah” agents.
In a statement on its official website, the Suriname government stressed that documents from Bouterse’s trial have shown that the Hezbollah agents had actually been informants of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
“At no time and in no manner were terrorism organizations active in Suriname. The documents from the court case show that only agents and informants of the US were involved and that they were neither terrorists nor members of drug cartels,” the statement said.