A Bangladeshi court convicted and sentenced 14 more border guards to up to six years in jail for participating in a major mutiny last year that left 74 people dead, mostly commanding officers.
The convictions are the latest handed down by six special courts set up across the country to hear mutiny charges against more than 2,000 suspects arrested in the wake of the February 2009 rebellion by members of the paramilitary border security agency, the Bangladesh Rifles. Other charges, such as murder and arson, are being handled separately in civil court.
The guards said they revolted over alleged discrimination and demands for parity in pay and other perks enjoyed by the army officers who command them. Killed in the rebellion were 57 military commanders, including the head of the border force.
The mutiny started at the agency’s headquarters in the capital, Dhaka, during an annual soldiers’ gathering, and spread around the country when the mutineers opened fire, blocked roads and drove commanding officers from offices and homes.
The force’s new chief, Maj. Gen. Rafiqul Islam, headed the three member panel that handed down Monday’s verdict at the court in the north-eastern city of Sylhet.
One guard was sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty of leading others in the mutiny in the area, Islam said. The others received jail terms from four months to five years, he said.
The government has arrested 2,136 members of the force in connection with the mutiny. Other verdicts will follow in the coming months.