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DEREK RAMSAMOOJ

Gail Alexander

Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj will be released today from prison in Suriname after courts in that country found the Surinamese police had no basis to keep him.

However, he will remain in Suriname until a trial is scheduled in the bank fraud allegations against former Surinamese Post Savings Bank CEO Ginmardo Kromosoeto.

This is expected in early January.

This was confirmed by Ramsamooj’s wife Camille Pagee yesterday.

Reports by Suriname’s De Ware Tidj online service yesterday stated Ramsamooj will be released by order of the Court of Justice.

Ramsamooj was detained on October 8.

He’d been told by Surinamese Public Prosecution Services (SPSB) that they wanted a statement or evidence to support an inquiry into operations at the SPSB and he’d agreed to assist. A probe was being done on SPSB since 2019.

When the detention continued without charge, Ramsamooj a diabetic, last month threatened to go on a hunger strike. Ramsamooj has denied claims and declared he wasn’t guilty of any criminal offence.

Yesterday Pagee said his detention by police on suspicions of collaborating with the CEO of a state bank in criminal activities, was challenged by his lawyer under that country’s “Article 61” of the criminal code.

Police in Suriname have wide powers to detain without evidence, but Article 61 requires them, after a certain time without producing charges, to prove to the courts that suspicions have been substantiated.

“The Court (yesterday) found they were not,” Pagee added.

Ramsamooj’s lawyer Maureen Nibte yesterday told the Surinamese courts that the PPS handling the matter has failed to turn the suspicion that Ramsamooj has committed any criminal offence into serious objections, which could justify continuing his custody.

Nibte also pointed to Ramsamooj’s fragile health, which would have deteriorated sharply during the lengthy period he was kept in custody.

Pagee added, “He is diabetic and has a heart condition, both of which are subject to deterioration under stress.”

Ramsamooj’s wife who is in Trinidad said she is awaiting more details on the next steps in the process.

Pagee added, “My concern from the first day their police held Derek in October, was for his health. Derek was in Suriname working on projects in keeping with his profession, which he has practised all over the region for over 25 years – data collection, analysis, strategic advice. So the allegations were far-fetched. The family and I are overjoyed at his release. He will need time to recover.”

She will have her first opportunity to speak to her husband today after over 70 days.