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Bangladesh high court recommends against military trials for BDR mutiny suspects

[JURIST] Bangladesh's Supreme Court [official website] recommended against military trials for Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) members who took part in February's border guard mutiny [BBC backgrounder], Law Minister Shafiq Ahmed [official profile] announced Monday. President Zillur Rahman [official profile] asked for the court's opinion to determine whether the accused should be tried under the Army Act of 1952 [text] or whether they should face civilian trials. The court took into account the advice of 10 top lawyers and legal experts, seven of whom opposed [People's Daily report] the use of military trials. An inter-ministerial meeting had been scheduled for Monday to decide the type of trials to be used, but that meeting has been delayed [Daily Star report] until Tuesday.

Soon after the mutiny, Bangladesh banned a number of websites [JURIST report], including YouTube [website], that featured recordings or could be used to distribute recordings of army officials criticizing Prime Minister Sheikha Hasina's handling of the mutiny, although the ban on YouTube was lifted [JURIST report] quickly. Bangladeshi officials announced in March that the government was considering trying by court-martial [JURIST report] the more than 1,000 border guards accused of participating in the BDR mutiny, which killed dozens of top BDR officials, including the force's commander. More than 40 suspects have been arrested, and Bangladeshi investigators said in March that interviews of the suspects have raised concerns [BBC report] of a possible link to the Islamic group Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) [SATP backgrounder], an organization previously tied to bombing plots across the country [JURIST report]. A US FBI team sent to Bangladesh to assist in the investigation arrived in March, and Scotland Yard investigators also joined the investigation.

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