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Central & South Asia
Bangladesh jails guards over mutiny
Fifty-seven sentenced by special court over 2009 mutiny that killed 74 people.
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2010 15:09 GMT

The guards said they revolted over
poor pay [Reuters]

Fifty-seven Bangladeshi border guards have been sentenced to prison terms by a special court  for staging a mutiny last year that killed 74 people, mostly army officers.

The guards, known as the Bangladesh Rifles, said they revolted over long-standing demands for parity in pay and other perks enjoyed by army officers, who commanded the border forces.

The guards were given sentences ranging from four months to seven years. Four defendants received the maximum, according to judge Major General Mainul Islam.

He said they were found guilty of taking up arms, firing and blocking a road during the February 2009 uprising.

Islam announced the sentences on Sunday in the eastern district of Feni.

Fifty-seven army commanders were among those killed in the mutiny that began at the guards' headquarters in the capital, Dhaka, and spread to border camps across the country.

It occurred just two months after the country's powerful military relinquished power to a civilian government under Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister.

Military anger

The military was furious with how Hasina handled the mutiny, which ended through negotiations, including offers of amnesty. ]

But when dozens of bodies - including those of dozens of commanding officers - were discovered dumped into shallow graves or sewers on the sprawling compound, the government rescinded the amnesty offer for those who led the mutiny.

Sunday's sentences were the third set related to the mutiny. Earlier this month 79 border guards were sentenced separately to jail terms ranging from four months to seven years in northern Bangladesh.

The government has so far arrested 2,136 members of the force in connection with the mutiny, and has set up six special courts headed by Islam to hear the cases.

The Bangladesh Rifles has also been disbanded following the mutiny.

Source:
Agencies
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