Suriname President Desi Bouterse returned to the country on Sunday, declaring his innocence and labelling as political, the decision of a Military Court which on Friday sentenced him to 20 years in jail for his involvement in the 1982 murders of 15 political opponents of his then military government.
Mr. Bouterse, who was on an official visit to China, said he will challenge the ruling.
He told at least 1,500 supporters, who greeted him, that the decision of the three-panel Military Court was not unexpected.
The trial lasted for several years and in a lengthy verdict the Court did not order Mr. Bouterse's detention.
He has at least two weeks to appeal the ruling.