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1982: Suriname’s “December murders”

December 8th, 2009 Headsman

This was the date in 1982 of the “December murders” (“Decembermoorden”), when 15 opponents of Suriname’s military dictatorship were shot at Fort Zeelandia.

(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.)


Andre Kamperveen.

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))

Decades later, Bouterse — now an ex-dictator — is finally facing trial for the December murders, including fresh evidence of his involvement in the day’s notorious affair.

Also on this date

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

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6 thoughts on “1982: Suriname’s “December murders””

  1. melitsia adipi says:

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  2. Ellen Neal says:

    I am investigating the murder of a young woman by the first name of Jeanette or janette. She was abducted from the sharkeys casino in 1982-83. Have had no luck finding any information about her in internet searches. Does someone who may have covered the story in 1982-83 remember the case. He was after my sister
    Laura which he stated in court. She and Janette were both tall buxom blonds and because they switched jackets that night he mistook Janette for my sister and she was murdered in a most horrible way. My sister will not discuss this case and I am mostly interested in finding the mans name and if he is still in prison or on death row. Thank You for any help you can forage for me.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Ellie Neal
    805-453-9464
    my7kats@aol.com

  3. Ellen Neal says:

    I am investigating the murder of a young woman by the first name of Jeanette or janette. She was abducted from the sharkeys casino in washoe valley during 1982-83. Have had no luck finding any information about her in internet searches. Does someone who may have covered the story in 1982-83 remember the case. He was after my sister
    Laura which he stated in court. She and Janette were both tall buxom blonds and because they switched jackets that night he mistook Janette for my sister, Janette was murdered in a most horrible way. My sister will not discuss this case. I am primarily interested in finding the mans name and if he is still in prison or on death row. Thank You for any help you can forage for me.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Ellie Neal
    805-453-9464
    my7kats@aol.com

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