Desi Bouterse, Suriname President, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 1982 murder of 15 political opponents, Dw.com reports.
The South American country is now said to be on edge as to what happens next, following the order of a military court.
The court on Friday, convicted Bouterse of murder, over the execution of 15 opponents, which plunged the country into political uncertainty.
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Opposition parties called on Bouterse, who is on a state visit to China, to step down. He is expected to return home latest on Sunday.
The 74-year-old leader was sentenced to two decades in prison, but the court did not issue a warrant of arrest for him. Under Surinamese law, he cannot be arrested until all appeals have been exhausted.
The government after the court’s ruling, asked the country’s 560,000 residents to remain calm.
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Bouterse as a junior military officer, seized power in a coup in 1980; five years after Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands.
He stepped down in 1987 under international pressure, in a move that led to a democratic election, only for him to briefly seize power again in 1990.
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He later left the army and took office again in 2010, following democratic elections won by his National Democratic Party (NDP). He secured second term in office in 2015.