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Bangladesh police charge more than 1,000 in border guards mutiny

[JURIST] Police in Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] on Sunday charged [Daily Star report] more than 1,000 members of the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in last week's border guards mutiny [BBC Q&A], which killed dozens of top BDR officers, including the force's commander. The government plans to organize a special tribunal [AP report] to try the organizers of the revolt. Among those charged are six accused of planning the revolt, including four deputy assistant directors. The government said that a previous offer of amnesty from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's [official profile] would not apply [bdnews24 report] to those directly involved in the mutiny. The revolt was motivated by disputes over pay, conditions and the selection of top officers from the regular army rather than from within the BDR.

The incident comes in a time of difficult transition for Bangladesh. Bangladesh voters elected Hasina in December 2008, ending two years of military rule. In January, Bangladeshi Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed [official website] declared [JURIST report] his government's desire to restore Bangladesh's 1972 constitution [text, PDF]. Prior to the elections, interim Bangladeshi president Iajuddin Ahmed [official profile] signed [JURIST report] the Emergency Powers (Repeal) Ordinance of 2008, lifting a two-year state of emergency to allow for political campaigning. The state of emergency, declared in January 2007 [JURIST report], had suspended democratic rights throughout the country.

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