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Mutiny charges against 667 border guards

world Updated: Jun 26, 2010 19:14 IST
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A Bangladeshi special court, on Saturday, framed mutiny charges against 667 troopers of the BDR border guards for the 2009 carnage that killed 57 army officers, including its chief Major General Shakil Ahmed.

The Special Court-5 headed by BDR Director General Mohammad Rafiqul Islam framed the mutiny charges against 667 BDR jawans of 24 Rifle Battalion linked to the February 25-26 carnage at its Pilkhana headquarters in the capital, the Star Online said.

Later the court adjourned the trial proceedings till September 4. Of the total accused, 29 BDR troopers pleaded guilty, the report said. A total of 74 people including 57 army officers were brutally killed during the bloodbath at its headquarters at Pilkhana in 2009.

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 February 25-26 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 offenses like murder while the BDR Act suggested the maximum seven years of imprisonment for breaching discipline in command chain or major service irregularities.

Over 200 border guards so far have already been jailed for various terms under the BDR Act in six special courts headed by the BDR chief.

Last week, the government decided to bring about a key amendment to expedite the trial of mutineers who did not directly take part in the killings.

According to Abvul Kalam Azad, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, said under the existing law, the BDR chief needed to head all the six paramilitary special courts set up last year to try the ordinary rebellious border guards.

Under the proposed amendment, he said, director level officials of the border force, who generally holds the rank of an army colonel, could head the courts instead of the director general himself. Reforms approved by the government led to renaming of the paramilitary force as Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) with a new combat uniform.