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Bangladesh court upholds death sentence of 139 BDR soldiers

Dhaka: The Bangladesh High Court today upheld the death sentence of 139 and the life imprisonment of 146 convicted soldiers over the massacre of 74 people, including 57 Army officers, in a 2009 mutiny, in the country's biggest-ever criminal case.

The judgement comes after the court started delivering the verdict yesterday in the death sentence of the total 152 convicted soldiers of the then Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) for the brutal killing at the border guards' headquarters here.
"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 three-judge High Court bench.
The judgement comes four years after a lower court in Dhaka handed down capital punishment to 152 and life term to 158 soldiers of the BDR. The bench on Sunday started reading out the entire judgement on the death sentence and appeal hearing of the trial of what is said to Bangladesh's biggest ever criminal case.
A Dhaka court had awarded death penalty to 152 jawans and non-commissioned officers of the BDR, which was renamed as the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), in November 2013.
"It appears from discussions and reviews before and after the BDR mutiny that it was a conspiracy by a quarter with vested interest to hamper the stability of the state and socio-economic safety," said the bench in its observation part of the judgement.
The bench observed that it was "an attempt to destroy a trained and skilled professional force through conspiracy".
The BDR jawans had been accused of masterminding the mutiny plots, torturing and killing their officers, looting their belongings or keeping their family members captive during the rebellion.
The mutiny was a challenge for the newly elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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