Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj, who has been detained in Suriname since October 6, will have an opportunity to hear whatever evidence the police have against him when the matter comes up on Wednesday.
This will be the first time that the 59-year-old pollster, who has threatened to go on hunger strike, will be heard by any part of the judiciary in the country.
All the decisions regarding his detention have been made so far by the police and under Article 61, if the police have already taken periods of eight and 30 days to investigate a person while in custody and still have not charged him, they must present some evidence to support their request for continued custody.
Ramsamooj, who has worked for political parties in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, Guyana, Grenada, St Lucia and St. Kitts-Nevis, was told by Suriname police on October 6 that they wanted a statement or evidence to support an inquiry into operations at the Surinamese Post Savings Bank (SPSB).
Under Suriname’s law, the police can detain anyone at the station or at the central penitentiary for periods of 30 days, renewable by making a request within their own ranks. They do not report to the judicial system regarding the handling of suspects and Ramsamooj has not yet made an appearance before a magistrate.
There is no automatic right to be heard by a court, until after the first periods of seven and 30 days have elapsed. But the police have renewed the 30-day period twice and under the law, the police may keep renewing for the incarceration for up to six months.
Suriname is a signatory to the Inter American Convention on Human Rights that states in part that no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or imprisonment. It also states that anyone who is detained shall be informed of the reasons for his detention and shall be promptly notified of the charge or charges against him.
Last week, Ramsamooj’s lawyer, Maureen Nibte, said she was seriously concerned about the physical and mental condition of her client, who is diabetic. Ramsamooj is said to be seriously concerned about the damage his reputation has taken.
There had been reports last week of charges of money laundering, embezzlement, participation in a criminal organisation and falsification of documents being laid against the pollster, however, Nibte had said at that time that she had not seen an official indictment.
At the time of his arrest, Ramsamooj was serving as a consultant to Suriname’s National Democratic Party led by its former president Dési Bouterse. In elections held in July, the NDP lost to the Opposition VHP and Bouterse was replaced as president by Chandrikapersad Santokhi, a former police inspector.