Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Police in Suriname arrest former vice president

Published:Tuesday | November 17, 2020 | 9:23 AM
Ashwin Adhin - CMC photo

PARAMARIBO, Suriname, CMC – President Chandrikapersad Santokhi says his government will not interfere in the judicial process after former vice president Ashwin Adhin was arrested as part of an investigation into the alleged destruction of equipment in the vice presidential office after his party lost power in the May elections.

Santokhi told reporters that the judiciary is independent and the government will not intervene in matters of the Public Prosecution Service.

“Based on that interrogation and the statements of others, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has deemed it necessary to detain him as a suspect,” Santohki told Parliament.

But, Rabin Parmessar, leader of the National Democratic Party (NDP) in the Parliament, which was once led by former president Desiré Delano Bouterse, is challenging the arrest of Adhin and disputes statements made by the Justice and Police Minister, Kenneth Amoski, who also confirmed the arrest of the former vice president.

Amoski said that “there were agreements with the Public Prosecution Service that he [Adhin] would register with his lawyer on Friday, November 13, but did not register”

He said that Adhin was also due to have registered with the authorities on Monday, but failed to do so, adding “he has therefore been found and arrested for arraignment.”

Parmessar said that Adhin was only contacted on Monday and picked up immediately.

“And who do you pick up? A suspect. We will not touch innocent or guilty, we will touch the procedure that we have agreed upon in the rule of law,” he said, adding “the legal provisions are there. Today is about Ashwin Adhin, tomorrow it can be someone else turn”.

Santokhi’s Progressive Reform Party (PRP) won the May 25 elections and after the new administration took office in July, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has intensified investigations into possible crimes by politicians and officials of the previous Bouterse government.

Former Finance Minister Gillmore Hoefdraad is the subject of a fraud investigation and is thought to have fled the country.

Bouterse’s party reacted furiously to Adhin’s arrest.  

In a statement, it said arresting a Member of Parliament who has been a critic of the current government “is a serious violation of democracy and also of the right of members of the National Assembly.”

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