PARAMARIBO, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Suriname President Desi Bouterse was under great pressure from the opposition in parliament, who sent him a letter on Friday seeking clarification over his son's arrest.
Dino Bouterse, the son of the president, was arrested Thursday at the international airport in Panama City by local law enforcement authorities and then turned over to U.S. agents, while travelling on a diplomatic passport.
Bouterse, extradicted to New York on Thursday, has been charged with smugling 10 kg of cocaine into the United States in late July and violating firearms laws by swinging a light anti-tank weapon.h "Can the president confirm whether the information is true? Can the president disclose what Dino Bouterse was doing abroad and why he was travelling on a diplomatic passport?" Suriname's main opposition party Nieuw Front said in the letter.
Opposition legislator Asiskoemar Gajadien accordingly called for the resignation of the president. "In any normal democracy the president would step down over such a serious issue," Gajadien told local media.
He argued that the incident was an national embarrassment and also a dent in its international image, especially as Suriname assumed the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) during the bloc's seventh summit in Paramaribo Friday.
The Surinamese government issued a short statement, acknowledging the information from the U.S. Embassy in Suriname that Dino Bouterse was arrested in Panama and transferred to the U.S. judicial authorities.
"The grounds for the arrest are unclear. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is following developments closely," said the statement.
Bouterse was appointed as director of Suriname's Counter Terrorist Unit shortly after his father's election win in July 2010, which drew heavy criticism from opposition legislators.