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HC upholds BDR carnage verdict

The Daily Dawn

The High Court on Monday upheld 139 BDR soldiers' death penalty delivering verdict on death reference and appeal hearing of convicts, tried earlier by a lower court for 2009 mutiny that killed 74 people including 57 army officers serving the border force, reports BSS.
"One thirty nine will have to walk to gallows and 146 will be imprisoned for life," attorney general Mahbubey Alam told a media briefing quoting the long verdict delivered by a special three-judge High Court bench.
The concerned trial court in its 2013 judgment originally sentenced 152 mutineers to death, one of them dying a natural death subsequently, while it handed down life term to 160.
Alam said the death sentences of eight were commuted to life imprisonment and four were acquitted of charges.
He said of the 160 people, who were sentenced to life imprisonment by the third additional metropolitan sessions' judge's court on November 5, 2013, the High Court on Monday upheld sentences for 146 of them.
Alam said on a simultaneous appeal by the state against acquittal by the trial court of 69 BDR soldiers, the High Court also sentenced to life 31 of them to life imprisonment and four others to other terms.
"The High Court acquitted 12 among those 160, who were originally sentenced to life imprisonment . . . two (of them) died in custody during the trial process (and) simultaneously of the 256 people, who were sentenced to different jail terms, the High Court upheld sentences of 196" the chief law officer of the state said.
The three-member High Court special bench wrapped up the judgment at 4:30pm, a day after it started pronouncing the verdict also giving seven directives prohibiting the engagement of the soldiers of the border force now called Boarder Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in activities that could affect their dignity or image and degenerate their soldierly morale.
"The court also asked for steps to develop amity among the BGB members and (directed particularly) the home ministry to take prompt actions in resolving complaints of BGB members, if there any, to take step in paying of any outstanding dues, acting sympathetically towards their demand of leave and probing intelligence failure over the bloody mutiny," the attorney general said.
Justice Shawkat Hossain was the presiding judge of the bench with Justice Md. Abu Zafar Siddique and Justice Md. Nazrul Islam Talukder being its other members.
The bench came up with the observations that the carnage was preplanned and was carried out to destabilize then newly elected government and the country as well.
The High Court on April 13, kept the judgment on "CAV" or Curia Advisari Vult, a Latin legal term meaning court awaits verdict, after wrapping up the one-year long appeal and death reference hearing of the case.
The trial court had passed the judgment after examining 654 out of 1354 prosecution witnesses in the biggest criminal case in the history of the country.
The court acquitted 271 persons as the prosecution could not establish the charges brought against them. Besides, 267 persons were given sentences for different tenure.
The brutal killing of the country's top army officials in the much hated BDR carnage had created widespread sensation at home and abroad.
The mutineers also looted arms and ammunitions during the 33 hours' bloodbath at the Pilkhana headquarters in the city.

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