Trial of Bangladesh border guard mutineers to begin on Tuesday

Last Updated: Sunday, November 22, 2009 - 14:39

Dhaka: Bangladesh is to begin on Tuesday the trial of over 3,500 border guards who staged a mutiny in February killing 74 people. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised to fast-track the process.
"I promise, if I live, I`ll see the trial completed," Hasina said at a special programme in Dhaka Cantonment to mark Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

The troopers had mutinied on February 25 over low wages and poor working conditions.

The first group to stand trial will face a court presided by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Director General, Major General Mohammad Mainul Islam. It will begin the proceedings at Rangamati, headquarters of the Chitagong Hill Tracts, the Daily Star said on Sunday.

On November 15, six special courts were constituted as per the Bangladesh Rifles Order 1972 to initiate trials of the mutineers.

The BDR chief will head each of the three-member courts that comprise a lieutenant colonel and a major as members.

The attorney general`s office has sent BDR authorities the names of 10 deputy attorney generals who will work as law officers of the BDR courts.

Referring to the BDR Act, a source said the government law officers will be appointed "to assist or advise" the court.

The BDR courts will deal only with the charge of mutiny at the Pilkhana headquarters and other battalions across the country.

Soldiers involved in other crimes including killings, arson and looting that took place at Pilkhana will be tried under civil law. Investigation into these crimes is going on at present.

The mutiny broke out on February 25 when an estimated 15,000 troopers were stationed at the headquarters at Pilkhana in the heart of the national capital.

Hundreds of them drew arms from the armoury and attacked an officers meeting killing then BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed.

In all, 57 Bangladesh Army officers on deputation to the BDR were killed during the mutiny that ended on February 26.

The government has since begun the process of revamping the 45,000 force by giving it a new name, logo, uniforms and dispersing four battalions.

IANS



First Published: Sunday, November 22, 2009 - 14:39

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