`Govt probing Khaleda Zia`s hiding during 2009 BDR mutiny`
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 23:53
Dhaka: The government is probing the "hiding" of main opposition leader Khaleda Zia during the 2009 bloody mutiny in which 74 people, including 57 army officers, were massacred by Bangladeshi border guard BDR, a senior leader of the ruling Awamil League party said on Thursday.

Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Awami League's joint general secretary, said the government is investigating into Zia's alleged "hiding" for three days during the last year's BDR mutiny.

"Investigation is being carried out on where she went ahead of the BDR carnage," he was quoted as saying by The Daily Star newspaper.

Hanif, also a special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said it is mysterious why she went into hiding from her cantonment house in a black windowed car.

He, however, refused to elaborate on the process of the investigation.

The probe is likely to spark an outcry from the BNP, amid accusation that the trial is being used to target the leaders of the opposition parties.

On July 12, Bangladesh charged 824 people, most of them BDR personnel, for the bloody mutiny in which the organisation chief Major General Shakil Ahmed was massacred.

The charges against 801 BDR personnel and 23 civilians ranged from murder, conspiracy, looting military arsenals and aiding and abetting mutiny, chief investigator Abdul Kahar Akand said, indicating that the trial would take a year to complete.

The massacre, which shook the newly-installed Hasina government, took place when the chief of the BDR and other military officers were addressing troops in Peelkhana headquarters in the capital.

All of the accused, who are being tried in Bangladesh's civil courts, have been charged with murder and could face the death penalty, an official said.

In November last year, Bangladesh set up six "special courts" headed by its then Director General Major General Mainul Islam to try the soldiers linked to the mutiny, just two months after the installation of the new government following the landmark December 29, 2008 parliamentary polls.

The government had decided to try the suspected massacre culprits under the fast track 'Speedy Trial Tribunal and others who extended support to the mutiny but did not take part in the killings under the BDR Act.

The Speedy Trial Tribunal will try the suspects under civil Penal Code, which prescribed capital punishment for offences like murder while the BDR Act suggested the maximum seven years of imprisonment for breaching discipline in command chain or major service irregularities.


First Published: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 23:53

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