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Suriname court jails seven Guyanese for 35 years for murdering Guyanese fishermen last year

A Surinamese court has sentenced seven Guyanese fishermen to 35 years imprisonment each for the murder of several Guyanese fishermen last year closer to the border with French Guiana.

Those sentenced by sub-district court judge Marie Mettendaf on Friday, November 22 are Chris Parasram, Rameshwaru Roopnarine, Madre Kishoor, David Williams, Ramdeo Persaud, Ray Torres and Ganesh Beharry.

Dagblad Suriname reported that each of the men has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for one offence and 25 years in prison for the second count.

Feroz Baksh was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment with a deduction and Terry Durga was sentenced to five years.

The Public Prosecution Service had proposed a five-year sentence against Durga.

Three others were freed because the evidence was not legally convincing. Those acquitted are Sureshdien N., Premnath P. and Doodnath M.

The court was told that the trio was present at the time of the killing but the Judge said there was no solid proof.

The boats, shotguns and other items that were seized were forfeited by the magistrate.

Several Guyanese fishermen were injured and dumped overboard in Surinamese waters.

The bodies of a number of the victims were found, while many others are missing and presumed dead.

Authorities in Suriname believe that the mastermind was a man named “Padi’ who was shot some time after a spate of pirate attacks between February 21 and 26, 2018.

Dagblad Suriname reports that Durga stated that permission was given to the crew to engage in piracy, because virtually no fish was caught and their income was dependent on fishing.

Padi was shot dead in March 2018 and after that, according to the newspaper report, statements from witnesses show that there were several robberies and murders at sea.

“Victims were tied to heavy anchors and batteries and thrown overboard with batteries. Others were summoned to jump overboard. Still others had no choice but to jump into the water. The victims were robbed of their fish, food and other goods. This team was suspected of having committed all these brutal and cruel robberies at sea together,” Dagblad Suriname states.

The research shows that 10 of them were physically present and two were not.

On 21 February 2018, a robbery was committed in which the captain was shot and the other crew members were mistreated and robbed. One of the statements from the victims shows that the crew was working when he saw the captain arrive and suddenly collapse due to a gunshot injury. In that incident, the boat was attacked by seven pirates who tortured the fishermen before sailing off with their catch of fish, water, gasoline and other goods with them.

On February 26, 2018, the court was told that 10 pirates committed the robbery and they moved around two boats captained by Bowi and Bolo. Two of them were positively identified from a collage of pictures.

After Padi was killed, Surinamese authorities were told that two victims survived a piracy attack on April 27 and 28, 2018. Two crew members – Mores and Kleine – were tied to a battery and thrown overboard.

Investigators were informed that during the robberies, the pirates said their boss was dead and that they would therefore take more lives. Williams was positively recognized in this case. Two victims, Sherwin and Lowel, survived that incident.