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Bangladesh set to start trial of main BDR massacre suspects

Sunday, 11 July 2010 - 2:18pm IST | Place: DHAKA | Agency: PTI
The Speedy Trial Tribunal is obligated to complete the trial in 135 days awarding the convicts the highest death penalties under the civil penal code.
Bangladesh is set to begin the trial of the main suspected culprits of last year's BDR massacre in which 74 people including 57 army officers were killed, with the charge sheet ready to be submitted by tomorrow.
 
"We have already completed all formalities (and) the charge sheet will be submitted in next 24 hours" under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal, a senior official of criminal investigation department (CID) told PTI, preferring anonymity.
 
He said nearly 900 rebel soldiers and 34 civilians would be named in the charge sheet for the February 25-26 carnage at the Bangladesh Rifles Pilkhana headquarters.
 
Nearly 60 of the charge sheeted soldiers were found to have directly carried out the massacre.

The Speedy Trial Tribunal is obligated to complete the trial in 135 days awarding the convicts the highest death penalties under the civil penal code.
 
CID officials earlier said the suspected massacre culprits would also be charged with offences including attempt to murder, injuring the officers with dangerous weapons or means, holding officers and their families' hostage, looting the armoury and using firearms without authority and destroying evidence of murders by hiding bodies.
 
The civilian accused included Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, a controversial former lawmaker of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Torab Alim, a local Awami League leader, who is also a former BDR soldier.
 
CID officials earlier said they prepared an initial list of some 900 BDR soldiers out of around 2,100 detained border guards to be charged for their alleged involvement in killings and lootings, keeping army officers' family members hostage at their Pilkhana headquarters.
 
A CID official familiar with the investigation said the number of accused in the carnage case would be the highest ever in any criminal case in the country.
 
Investigators earlier said that initially 40 to 50 BDR men started the mutiny while most of the paramilitary soldiers took up weapons "voluntarily or reluctantly" and carried out the killings, destruction and looting.
 
CID was tasked to investigate into the country's worst ever paramilitary mutiny 16 months ago.
 
The trial of the "ordinary mutineers" charged with lesser offences is already underway under six paramilitary courts in Dhaka and the battalion headquarters of the border guards across the country.
 
They are being tried under the relatively lenient BDR Act which prescribes the highest seven years of jail term for offences like breach of command or disobedience and so far 201 people have been jailed for different terms in five units.

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