Bangla court sentences 46 BDR rebels for 2009 mutiny

Anisur Rahman

Dhaka, Jan 13 (PTI) A special court in Bangladeshtoday sentenced 46 BDR soldiers to prison terms up to sevenyears for staging a revolt at their unit in the southeasternKhagrachhari hills in February 2009 when border guards inDhaka had killed 57 army officers in a bloody massacre.

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

A BDR spokesman said the special court headed byChittagong Sector Commander Lieutenant Colonel Zahedur Rahmanhanded down the punishment to the border guards serving 29Rifles Battalion at Matiranga sub-district of the ruggedregion.

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

The trial of several thousand rebel soldiers isunderway in 11 special BDR courts on ordinary mutiny chargesunder the BDR Act, which prescribe a maximum imprisonment ofseven years for breaching command or indiscipline.

Several hundred soldiers have already been jailedunder the process.

A BDR official familiar with the process said thetrial of rebels in 10 of out of 52 units have so far beencompleted. He said 12 of the units were based in Pilkhana atthe time of the rebellion while the rest were outside Dhakawhere they took up weapons and control of their units.

In line with a Supreme Court directive, the governmenthad earlier decided that the BDR soldiers who were directlylinked to the killings, lootings and arson during the February25-26 rebellion at the Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka would betried in a Speedy Trial Tribunal under the civil penal code.

A Dhaka court last week marked the beginning of thetrial of the main accused as it took into cognizance chargesagainst 824 suspected "core culprits" of the 2009 carnage when74 people including 57 army officers serving the paramilitaryborder force were killed.

Metropolitan Sessions Judge Mohammad Zohurul Haquetook into cognizance the charges as 800 of the 824 coreculprits appeared before the court at the heavily guardednewly built makeshift court complex in Dhaka.

Prosecution lawyers said the trial of the mainmassacre suspects were set to be referred later to a specialcourt under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal in line with agovernment decision.

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

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