Bangladesh Court Sentences 152 to Death for 2009 Mutiny
Dhaka – A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people among hundreds of border guards accused of murder and arson during a mutiny at their headquarters in 2009. Some 850 people had been accused of involvement in the bloody rampage that broke out in the capital, Dhaka, and quickly spread to a dozen other towns, killing 74 people.
Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol told Reuters the court sentenced 152 people to death. “The court announced the death sentence to them for the heinous killing of the country’s brave sons,” he said. Amid tight security, the court also sentenced 160 mutineers to life terms, including a former lawmaker of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and acquitted 171 soldiers. The rest got jail terms of up to 10 years and fines.
Grievances over different facilities for army and border guards led to the mutiny, Judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman said in comments accompanying the verdict. “It also aimed to tarnish the image of the army in the outside world, where it has built up a reputation in performing U.N. peacekeeping duties,” he added. The mutiny shook the stability of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s newly elected government, which ended the revolt by negotiating a settlement.
The then chief of the roughly 48,000-strong paramilitary force was among those killed in the 33-hour rampage. Others included 57 top- and middle-ranking army officers deputed to the force, as well as several civilians. After the mutiny, the paramilitary force was renamed the Border Guard Bangladesh instead of the Bangladesh Rifles. (Reuters)