PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) — A court in the South American country of Suriname convicted President Desi Bouterse on Friday in the 1982 killings of 15 political opponents and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
The decision by a panel of three judges marks the end of a historic trial that began in November 2007, although it was not immediately clear what happens next.
The judges did not issue an arrest order, and Bouterse's attorney, Irvin Kanhai, immediately appealed the decision, calling it a "political verdict."
Shortly after the court issued its decision, the government asked Suriname's more than half a million inhabitants to remain calm.
"Democracy remains of paramount importance," officials said in a statement.
Bouterse is currently on an off