57 more border guards sentenced to prison for BDR mutiny

Last Updated: Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 21:33

Dhaka: A special court in Bangladesh Sunday
sentenced 57 border guards to prison terms ranging from four
months to seven years for their role in the 2008 bloody mutiny
that killed 74 soldiers, including 57 officers.

In the third such verdict under the relatively lenient
BDR Act, the court sentenced 57 border guards of 19 Rifles
Battalion to different terms of rigorous imprisonment for
staging the mutiny at their battalion in southeastern Feni.

The paramilitary court headed by BDR chief Major General
Mainul Islam acquitted five out of the total 62 accused, and
handed down the maximum seven years of imprisonment to four.

The same court has sentenced 79 others to prison in the
last two weeks.

In line with a government decision complying with a
Supreme Court directive, the ordinary mutineers, who did not
take part in indiscriminate killings or lootings during the
massacre, are being tried under the relatively lenient BDR
Act.

Under the BDR Act, so far over 1300 soldiers are facing
trial in Dhaka and different frontier districts and more
others are likely to be charged, to be tried in phases in six
paramilitary courts, all headed by the BDR chief.

The others are to be tried under the tough Speedy Trial
Tribunal under the civil penal Code, under which they can be
awarded the highest death penalty.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has
said they have nearly finalised their investigation against
the suspected massacre culprits.

Seventy-four people, including the 57 senior army
officers, were killed in the 33-hour siege, which shook the
newly elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on
February 25-26, 2008.

A government committee report said a certain section of
the force staged the mutiny exploiting a sense of deprivation
of the ordinary BDR soldiers but only a few BDR men knew about
killing plot.

The report bluntly admitted "without hesitation that the
real causes and objectives of the gruesome incident could not
be ascertained clearly and it requires further
investigations".

The government recently approved "in principle" a
proposed law for massive reconstruction of the mutiny infested
BDR border force renaming it as Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB)
and prescribing death penalty for such a mutiny.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010 - 21:33

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