Bangla court sentences 46 BDR rebels for 2009 mutiny

A special court in Bangladesh sentenced 46 BDR soldiers to prison terms up to seven years for staging a revolt at their unit in the southeastern Khagrachhari hills in February 2009.

Dhaka: A special court in Bangladesh
on Thursday sentenced 46 BDR soldiers to prison terms up to seven
years for staging a revolt at their unit in the southeastern
Khagrachhari hills in February 2009 when border guards in
Dhaka had killed 57 army officers in a bloody massacre.

The paramilitary court jailed the 46 Bangladesh Rifles
soldiers to different terms up to seven years.

A BDR spokesman said the special court headed by
Chittagong Sector Commander Lieutenant Colonel Zahedur Rahman
handed down the punishment to the border guards serving 29
Rifles Battalion at Matiranga sub-district of the rugged
region.

The court, however, found one of the suspects innocent
and acquitted him of the charges.

The trial of several thousand rebel soldiers is
underway in 11 special BDR courts on ordinary mutiny charges
under the BDR Act, which prescribe a maximum imprisonment of
seven years for breaching command or indiscipline.

Several hundred soldiers have already been jailed
under the process.

A BDR official familiar with the process said the
trial of rebels in 10 of out of 52 units have so far been
completed. He said 12 of the units were based in Pilkhana at
the time of the rebellion while the rest were outside Dhaka
where they took up weapons and control of their units.

In line with a Supreme Court directive, the government
had earlier decided that the BDR soldiers who were directly
linked to the killings, lootings and arson during the February
25-26 rebellion at the Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka would be
tried in a Speedy Trial Tribunal under the civil penal code.

A Dhaka court last week marked the beginning of the
trial of the main accused as it took into cognizance charges
against 824 suspected "core culprits" of the 2009 carnage when
74 people including 57 army officers serving the paramilitary
border force were killed.

Metropolitan Sessions Judge Mohammad Zohurul Haque
took into cognizance the charges as 800 of the 824 core
culprits appeared before the court at the heavily guarded
newly built makeshift court complex in Dhaka.

Prosecution lawyers said the trial of the main
massacre suspects were set to be referred later to a special
court under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal in line with a
government decision.

While 21 absconding accused are being tried in
absentia, two others have died.

PTI

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