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US diplomat says arrest of Suriname’s Dino Bouterse not political

Son of country’s President charged for gun, drug trafficking

Monday, April 28, 2014 | 10:00 AM    

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PARAMARIBO, Suriname (CMC) – United States Ambassador to Suriname, Jay Anania, says the recent arrest and prosecution of Dino Bouterse, the son of President Desi Bouterse, was not politically motivated.

He told the Dutch press agency, NOS, that the arrest was part of Washington’s fight against drug trafficking in the region.

"Anyone who commits crimes against the US will be investigated, arrested and prosecuted, no matter where in the world they are," Anania said.

Dino Bouterse was arrested in Panama August last year and flown to the United States where he is facing charges of drugs and weapons trafficking and plotting attacks on the US with terrorist organization Hezbollah. His US-based lawyers have accused Washington of entrapment.

“The drug trade is an important plague in our region. And of course we have more resources than other countries so our contribution to the fight against the drug trade is larger,” Anania said, noting that it is important the drug trafficking “plague” is dealt with while it can still be controlled.

The US diplomat has in the past few weeks made several statements in the media about local matters. Last week he said Washington and himself were worried about recent political developments.

Two months ago President Bouterse threatened to have him expelled from the country if he could not give a satisfactory reason for “meddling in internal affairs” after the US diplomat had visited the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Independent Elections Bureau in late February, allegedly inquiring about how the preparations for the elections were progressing.

The matter fizzled to the background after Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin met with the US ambassador.

Anania told De Ware Tijd newspaper last week that Bouterse’s verbal attack had not worried him.

“People say things sometimes without making all considerations,” he said, adding that he did regret it had happened because the story did get international attention, which had the unfortunate effect that people might have the impression that the US is concern about the 2015 elections.

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