Dhaka, Oct 20 (IANS) With the announcement of the last verdict against 733 accused, the trial of Bangladesh border guards who in February 2009 staged a two-day horrendous mutiny in the paramilitary force's headquarters in Dhaka and other stations concluded Saturday, reported Xinhua.
The special courts of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), previously known as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), awarded jail terms ranging from four months to seven years to nearly 6,000 border guards of the force's 57 units in the last two and a half years.
The trial began in April 2010.
Paramilitary BDR in November 2009 constituted six special courts to try thousands of guards accused in dozens of cases in connection with the bloody mutiny on Feb 25-26, 2009. On the first day of the two-day mutiny, BDR chief Maj. Gen Shakil Ahmed was shot dead by mutineers.
Of the 6,042 guards who were tried since April 2010, a BGB official, who preferred to be unnamed, told Xinhua Saturday that "5,926 guards of total 57 units were jailed and 115 acquitted".
In Saturday's verdict, a BGB special court here awarded jail terms ranging from four months to seven years to 723 personnel of the 57th unit.
Major allegations against the convicted soldiers of the unit which comes under Sadar (headquarters) Rifles Battalion of the erstwhile BDR included staging rebellion with firearms, instigation and distributing leaflets.
The special court also imposed a fine of 100 taka ($1.43) on each of the convicted soldiers of the battalion which led the bloody mutiny inside the paramilitary force's headquarters.
Some 64 of the accused soldiers of the unit were sentenced to the highest seven years imprisonment term while others received jail terms ranging from four months to six years at the last verdict, the BGB official said.
He said the court acquitted 10 soldiers of the charge of the two-day mutiny which started in the force's headquarters spread to its almost all the stations across the country.
The Bangladeshi government decided to try the accused for such offences as killings, attempted murder, looting and arson committed during the mutiny under the penal code.
Other offences like breach of discipline and defying superiors' orders at the BGB headquarters in Dhaka and other stations of the force across the country were tried under BDR laws through formation of the special courts.
The maximum punishment under the penal code is the death sentence, while under the BDR laws it is seven years' imprisonment.
The trial of the border guards facing charges of serious mutiny crimes at the paramilitary force's headquarters in February 2009 began on Aug 24 last year in a Dhaka court.
The court has already started recording witnesses' statements against nearly 1,847 border guards and civilians of murder, looting, arson and hiding bodies in mass graves.
A BGB official had earlier said recording of witnesses' statements against over 315 guards facing charges of serious mutiny crimes have already been completed.
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