December 8th, 2009 Headsman
(The 15 people shot each have an entry on the Dutch Wikipedia, accessible through its Decembermoorden entry.)
Though the killings weren’t secret at the time, their circumstances have always been murky, beyond the plain fact of being murders of political dissidents — “counterrevolutionaries,” in the parlance of the “Socialist Republic”.
President Desi Bouterse had seized power in a coup in early 1980, and some of the casualties this day might have been suspected of plotting to pull the same trick on him: at least, several were made to read statements to that effect. Others were regime opponents of a less existential menace: dissident university professors; critical journalists; a prominent former footballer. (When in Paramaribo, take in a match at Andre Kamperveen Stadion, which is named for him.)
Bouterse took political responsibility for the slaughter while claiming not to have ordered it. But it’s long been said that Bouterse was actually present for the shootings, personally interviewing/interrogating/”judging” the prisoners. (That’s what the massacre’s lone survivor, the since-deceased Fred Derby, said. (Dutch link))
On this day..
- 1746: Charles Radclyffe, twice Jacobite rebel - 2015
- 1975: Isobel Lobato, wife of East Timor's Prime Minister - 2014
- 1934: John and Betty Stam, China missionaries - 2013
- 1922: Four anti-Treaty Irish Republicans - 2012
- Hand of Glory: 1,500 days and counting - 2011
- 2009: Yang Yanming, hedge fund manager - 2011
- 1828: Joseph Hunton, forger - 2010
- Themed Set: Reputation - 2010
Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Activists,Athletes,Businessmen,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Intellectuals,Lawyers,Mass Executions,No Formal Charge,Notable Participants,Politicians,Power,Ripped from the Headlines,Shot,Soldiers,Summary Executions,Suriname,Torture,Treason,Wrongful Executions