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B'desh military court jails 657 rebel border guards

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, June 27, IRNA -- In an unprecedented verdict, a Bangladesh military court on Monday sentenced 657 border guards upto seven years of imprisonment for their involvement in 2009 bloody mutiny at its headquarters at Dhaka, capital city of Bangladesh.

The court, however, acquitted nine of the suspects for want of proof of their involvement in the February 25-26 rebellion in Pilkhana headquarters, when 74 people including 57 army officers of the BGB, then known as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) serving the paramilitary force were killed.

This verdict is unprecedented in Bangalesh's history as such a large number of people have been convicted at once, pti reported quoting official sources from Dhaka as said.

With this sentencing, the total number of soldiers imprisoned has risen to nearly 3,000.

'The court convicts and hands you down the imprisonment reviewing the witnesses testimonies and evidence and considering the other related issues. You will serve the terms in non-military jails,' judge of the court and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chief Major General Mohammad Rafiqul Islam said pronouncing the verdict.

Of the convicts, 108 were handed highest seven years' jail. Nine were awarded six years, five eight years, three four years and six months, 26 four years, 57 three years and six months, 52 three years, 18 two years and six months, 82 two years, 55 one year and six months, two one year and three months, and 67 one year imprisonment.

Besides, 34 were handed nine months' jail, 47 six months and the rest 89 four months' jail.

The judge also fined each of the convicts, all belonging to Pilkhana-based 24 BGB Battalion, an amount of Taka 100 as the accused appeared before the special court in shackles and in barefoot under tight security escorts from the nearby high security Dhaka Central Jail.

BGB officials said highest number of accused in a particular unit of the frontier force was awarded the punishments today as the trial of several thousand suspected rebels were underway in 11 BGB courts under the relatively lenient BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) Act, which prescribes the maximum seven years of imprisonment.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30451401

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