DHAKA, July 15: A Bangladesh court has jailed more than 250 people including paramilitary guards and male nurses for joining a 2009 mutiny, prosecutors said on Sunday.
Scores of senior army officers were killed during the uprising that began when soldiers at the Bangladeshi Rifles (BDR) headquarters in the capital Dhaka went on a killing spree, dumping the bodies in sewers and shallow graves.
More than 4,000 BDR soldiers have now been convicted in cases related to the mutiny, and another 2,000 are facing trial, prosecutor Manjur Alam said.
The special court on Saturday sentenced 253 people who worked or were being treated at the headquarters’ hospital to up to seven years in jail for their part in the two-day mutiny, Alam said.
“Of the 253 found guilty, some 140 were male medical assistants of the hospital and 80 were trainee medical assistants. At least 30 guards who were being treated there and a few of their attendants were also jailed,” he said.
“Some of these hospital staff were charged with trying to torch bodies of their commanding officers and helping dump the officers’ bodies in shallow graves near the hospital,” he said.
The mutiny spread from Dhaka to BDR posts across the country, with thousands of guards taking up arms against senior officers in the worst military rebellion in Bangladesh’s history.
Dozens of special courts — run by the military using a mix of martial and civilian law — were set up to prosecute mutineers, with the first verdict, convicting 29 soldiers, being handed down in April 2010.
Soldiers accused of more serious offences — including murder — are being tried separately in civilian courts and could face the death penalty if convicted.—AFP