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DHAKA: A Bangladesh court yesterday jailed 723 border guards for their role in a bloody 2009 mutiny, bringing the total number of soldiers imprisoned for the unrest to nearly 6,000, prosecutors said.
Fifty-seven senior army officers were killed during an uprising that began when soldiers at the Bangladeshi Rifles (BDR) headquarters in Dhaka went on a killing spree, later dumping victims’ bodies in sewers and shallow graves.
A special military court in the capital found 723 border guards guilty of “joining and leading the mutiny”, state prosecutor Gazi Zillur Rahman said, a charge that attracts a maximum penalty of seven years. “In all 735 border guards... were charged. Two died during the trial and 10 were acquitted. Of the 723 found guilty, 64 soldiers were sentenced to seven years in jail,” Rahman said.
The mutiny spread from Dhaka to BDR posts across the country, with thousands of guards taking up arms against their commanding officers.
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, which saw 29 soldiers convicted, being handed down in April 2010.
A total of 5,926 soldiers have now been convicted, another prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain said.
“With today’s verdict, the BDR mutiny case has come to an end. In all 6,046 soldiers from the BDR’s 57 battalions from across the country were tried in the case.