Latin America & Caribbean

Suriname president's son Dino Bouterse charged in US

August, 2003
Image caption Dino Bouterse, seen here arriving at court in 2003, served an earlier prison sentence on multiple charges

The son of Suriname's president has appeared before a court in the United States, charged with drug and weapons trafficking.

Dino Bouterse pleaded not guilty in a federal court in New York.

Mr Bouterse was arrested in Panama on Thursday and swiftly handed over to American agents.

His arrest came as his father, President Desi Bouterse, hosted the Unasur summit of South American leaders.

Dino Bouterse, who was head of Suriname's anti-terrorism unit, was arrested at Panama City international airport while travelling on a diplomatic passport.

US officials said Mr Bouterse had been indicted on drug and weapons charges, including cocaine trafficking.

He had been sentenced to eight years in prison in 2005, after being found guilty of trafficking in drugs, weapons and stolen luxury cars.

Mr Bouterse was released three years later for good behaviour and was later named director of Suriname's Counter Terrorist Unit.

His father Desi (for Desire), a former coup leader, was elected president of Suriname in 2010.

He was accused of numerous human rights violations in the 1980s but was given immunity by parliament in 2012.

In 2000, President Bouterse was himself convicted in absentia of drug trafficking by a court in the Netherlands.

He has always denied the charges.

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