Illustration: Hezbollah flag
Illustration: Hezbollah flag AFP photo

The son of the president of Suriname is being charged by the US on suspicion of providing material support to Hezbollah.

According to the BBC, Dino Bouterse was filmed telling undercover agents posing as Hezbollah operatives that he was willing to help the Iranian-backed terror group set up a base in the central American country, as well as to provide them with passports and advanced weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles.

Prosecutors say Bouterse - who denies the charges - had already accepted millions of dollars from Hezbollah, as part of the group's preparations to launch attacks on the US and Holland, Suriname's former colonialist ruler.

He was arrested in Panama and extradited to the US back in August, where he has already been charged for attempting to smuggle drugs and weapons into the country.

If convicted, he could face a life sentence for the drugs and weapons-related offences, as well as up to fifteen years for providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Bouterse has previously served jail time in his home country, where he was sentenced to 8 years for drug smuggling offences in 2005. But in a bizarre twist, he was released after serving only 3 years and appointed as Suriname's counterterrorism chief.

His father, President Desi Bouterse, was convicted in absentia by a Dutch court back in 2000, also for drug-trafficking - charges he strenuously denies.