152 soldiers sentenced to die for mutiny in Bangladesh

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (CNN) — More than 150 soldiers in Bangladesh were sentenced to death Tuesday for murder, rape and arson during a 2009 mutiny.

“The convicts will be hanged by the neck until death,” ruled Mohammad Akhteruzzaman, a senior judge at the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Court, in pronouncing the sentences for the 152 paramilitary border guards.

Seventy-four people, including 57 army officers, were killed in the mutiny at the headquarters of Bangladesh’s border guards in Dhaka in February 2009.

Investigators initially brought charges against 850 people, including 23 civilians, but the final judgment was against 846 people. Four suspects died in custody.

The accused troopers were indicted on charges of murder, rape, arson, looting weapons and conspiracy.

Several thousand armed soldiers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) unit took control of their own headquarters in the capital for two days and massacred scores of people, including officers of the Bangladesh Army who were stationed with the BDR.

The government later renamed the BDR the Border Guards of Bangladesh.

The civilians in the case included a former lawmaker from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, and an Awami League leader, Torab Ali.

State prosecutor Mosharrof Hossain Kazal told CNN that 161 people, including Pintu and Ali, were sentenced to life in prison.

A total of 262 people were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years to 10 years and 271 were acquitted of the charges against them.

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