A special Bangladeshi court today jailed 23 border guards for a maximum of seven years for revolting in northern Dinajpur district as part of the 2009 bloody mutiny that killed 74 people, including 57 army officers.

Twenty-three jawans of Border Guard Bangladesh’s 40 Rifles Battalion were sentenced to jail terms up to six years by the Special Court-13 for their involvement in the February 25-26, 2009 mutiny in Phulbari sub-division of Dinajpur district, which is 263.72 kilometres from the capital, The Daily Star newspaper said today.

The Special Court-13, headed by Dinajpur Sector Commander Col Saleh Ahmed, also fined the guilty border guards Taka 100 each.

The BDR has been renamed as Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) with a new combat uniform as part of a reform process.

The plaintiff, in his complaint, alleged that the guards looted arms from armoury and revolted against their officers on February 25 and 26, expressing solidarity with the mutineers at the Pilkhana Headquarters in the capital, the report said.

The court delivered the verdict in the afternoon, it said.

On January 13, Special Court-15 had jailed 46 border guards to jail terms ranging from four months to seven years for their involvement in the mutiny in Matiranga sub-division in Chittagong’s Khagrachhari district.

At least 74 people, including the then BDR chief Major General Shakil Ahmed was killed in the mutiny at Peelkhana in the capital.

The trial of several thousand rebel soldiers is underway in 11 special BDR courts on ordinary mutiny charges under the BDR Act, which prescribe a maximum imprisonment of seven years for breaching command or indiscipline.

Several hundred soldiers have already been jailed under the process.

A BDR official familiar with the process said the trial of rebels in 10 of out of 52 units have so far been completed. He said 12 of the units were based in Pilkhana at the time of the rebellion while the rest were outside Dhaka where they revolted.

In line with a Supreme Court directive, the government had earlier decided that the BDR soldiers who were directly linked to the killings, lootings and arson in Dhaka would be tried in a Speedy Trial Tribunal under the civil penal code.

In 2009, Bangladesh set up six “special courts” to try the rebellious soldiers for the bloody mutiny by the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR).

The rebellious soldiers had claimed that a sense of “deprivation” had prompted them to stage the mutiny even as they demanded the border force should be freed from “military domination”.

More In: International | News