657 jailed for Peelkhana mutiny, 9 freed

Of the convicts, 108 get the maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. Updates 1

Published : 26 June 2011, 11:41 PM
Updated : 26 June 2011, 11:41 PM
Dhaka, June 27 (bdnews24.com)—A total of 657 of the 666 accused of 24 Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) Battalion have been jailed for varying terms for the 2009 BDR mutiny in the Peelkhana headquarters.
BGB director general Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam, who headed the Special Court-7 formed to try the mutineers, set free the remaining nine accused, while handing down the verdict at Peelkhana in Dhaka on Monday.
The special court started pronouncing the verdict around 10:15am and completed it around 1:13pm.
Of the convicts, 108 were sentenced to the maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment while 89 given the lowest prison-term of four months. Others were jailed for different terms.
Each of the convicts was also fined Tk 100.
There were 58 witnesses in the case and 86 people testified in favour of the suspects. The case proceedings ended within 48 working days.
Gen Rafiqul finished the court proceedings around 1pm.
After the announcement of the verdict, prosecutor Maj Khan Mohammad Alauddin told reporters that before passing the verdict, the court scrutinised different issues including mobile call lists, their prior activities and participation in the nation's freedom struggle.
Of the 31 accused who pleaded guilty, he said three were released and the remaining were handed light sentencing. "Moreover, there were eight freedom fighters and all of them have been sentenced."
The charge-sheet in the case was pressed against 668 people on Mar 31 last year. However, two soldiers identified as Nayek Mohammad Joynal Abedin Bhuiyan and Habilder Mohammad Matiur Rahman had died meantime.
Of the remaining 666 accused, 355 were also charge-sheeted in the case filed for murder and looting during the bloodbath in the headquarters of the border guards, formerly known as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).
At least 74 people, including 57 army officers deputed to the paramilitary force, were killed during the Feb 25-26 rebellion.
Hearing on charge-framing in the mutiny case began on June 20 last year and the charges were framed six days later.
Recording of testimonies took place between Sept 4 last year and March 16 this year.
One of the accused, Abdul Baset, was sentenced to six months in prison for misconduct during the trial. Several others were also warned.
Verdicts on other cases, filed for expressing solidarity with the Peelkhana rebellion by the members of the paramilitary forces outside Dhaka, have already been delivered.