Monday 22 January 2018

Mass death sentence for 152 people for mutiny

A mutinous soldier of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) uses a loudhailer to speak to the media at their headquarters in Dhaka in this February 26, 2009 file photo. A special court in Bangladesh on November 5, 2013 sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards 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. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj/Files (BANGLADESH - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
A mutinous soldier of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) uses a loudhailer to speak to the media at their headquarters in Dhaka in this February 26, 2009 file photo. A special court in Bangladesh on November 5, 2013 sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards 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. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj/Files (BANGLADESH - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Handcuffed border guards arrive at a special court in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. The Dhaka court is set to deliver verdicts involving a 2009 mutiny at the headquarters of the country's border guards. At least 74 people, including 57 military officials, were killed in the mutiny. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
Mutinous soldiers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) stand inside their headquarters in Dhaka in this February 26, 2009 file photo. A special court in Bangladesh on November 5, 2013 sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards 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. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj/Files (BANGLADESH - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)
Members of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) who are accused of a mutiny are summoned for a hearing before a special court in Dhaka in this July 12, 2010 file photo. A special court in Bangladesh on November 5, 2013 sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards 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. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj/File (BANGLADESH - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY CRIME LAW) )
Bangladeshi security officials stand guard outside a special court in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. The court in Bangladesh has sentenced 152 people to death for their actions in a 2009 border guard mutiny in which 74 people, including 57 military commanders, were killed. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)
A police ambulance carries a sick prisoner to a court before the verdict for a 2009 mutiny is announced, in Dhaka November 5, 2013. A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards in 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Police escort a prisoner to a van after the verdict for a 2009 mutiny was announced, at a courthouse in Dhaka November 5, 2013. A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards in 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: CRIME LAW)
Members of Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) stand guard with police outside a courthouse as the verdict for a 2009 mutiny is announced, in Dhaka November 5, 2013. A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards in 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: CRIME LAW MILITARY)
Security personnel and members of the media wait outside a courthouse before the verdict for a 2009 mutiny is announced, in Dhaka November 5, 2013. A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards in 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: CRIME LAW MILITARY MEDIA)
A prisoner reacts as police force him into a van after the verdict for a 2009 mutiny is announced, in Dhaka November 5, 2013. A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards in 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: CRIME LAW)
A prisoner reacts as police force him into a van after the verdict for a 2009 mutiny is announced, in Dhaka November 5, 2013. A special court in Bangladesh on Tuesday sentenced to death more than 150 people, from among hundreds of mutineers accused of murder and arson at the headquarters of the country's border guards in 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj (BANGLADESH - Tags: CRIME LAW)

A court in Bangladesh has sentenced 152 people to death for their actions in a 2009 border guard mutiny in which 74 people, including 57 military commanders, were killed.

Dhaka's Metropolitan Sessions Court Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman also sentenced 161 others to life in prison, 256 people received sentences between three and 10 years and 277 people were acquitted.

The mass trial involved 846 defendants and has been criticised by a human rights group which says it was not credible and that at least 47 suspects died in custody.

The border guards, known at the time of the mutiny as the Bangladesh Rifles, say they revolted over demands for salaries in line with their commanders in the army; assignments on UN peacekeeping missions, which come with generous perks; and better facilities.

The mutiny on February 25-26 2009 took place two months after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took office. The influential military was unhappy over the response of the government, which did not allow troops to attack the border guards' headquarters in Dhaka where military commanders were killed.

Major General Aziz Ahmed, director general of the Bangladesh Border Guards, said he was satisfied with the outcome.

"It was a huge massacre. We are glad that justice has been delivered," he said.

The defence says it plans to appeal.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has criticised the legal proceedings and called for a new trial. The group said at least 47 suspects have died in custody while the suspects have had limited access to lawyers.

"Trying hundreds of people en masse in one giant courtroom, where the accused have little or no access to lawyers is an affront to international legal standards," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Press Association

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