Bangladesh court sentences 150 soldiers to death for mutiny
2009 revolt saw 74, mostly Bangladeshi army officers, hacked to death and bodies burned
A Bangladeshi court has sentenced at least 150 soldiers to death and jailed hundreds more over a 2009 military mutiny in which scores of top officers were killed.
Some 823 soldiers were charged over the mutiny in which 74 people including officers were hacked to death, tortured or burnt alive before their bodies were dumped in sewers and shallow graves.
A special court convicted and sentenced 150 of the soldiers to death over the mutiny, which was motivated in part by poor pay and conditions for the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) soldiers who patrol the country’s borders.
“At least 150 BDR soldiers have been sentenced to death for the massacre of the army officers,” lead prosecutor Baharul Islam told reporters outside the court in Dhaka.
At least another 400 soldiers were jailed, with terms ranging from life to several years for their role in the uprising, while at least a further 270 soldiers were acquitted.
“The atrocities were so heinous that even the dead bodies were not given their rights,” Judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman told the packed court in the capital Dhaka as he read out the verdicts.
The 823 soldiers were charged with murder, torture, conspiracy and other offences over the 30-hour uprising that started at the BDR headquarters in Dhaka and spread to other bases around the country.
Nearly 6,000 soldiers have already been convicted by dozens of special courts over the mutiny that left 74 people dead, including 57 top army officers.
An official probe into the mutiny blamed years of pent-up anger over ignored pleas for pay rises and improved treatment of the ordinary troops, who resented their better-paid superiors.
The judge said on Tuesday that the soldiers should have been given better pay and privileges to defuse the resentment, saying they could not afford to send their children to military-owned schools.