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Bangladesh judge indicts 430 civilians for 2009 mutiny

A judge in the Court of Metropolitan Sessions, a criminal court in Bangladesh, on Wednesday indicted 430 people for their roles in a February 2009 mutiny [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Bangladesh has conducted a series of military and civil trials for the thousands of citizens and soldiers involved in the mutiny, which left 74 dead. All of the indicted, before the court in shackles, pleaded not guilty [AP report]. Two unnamed politicians were indicted, including a member of the ruling party, the Awami League [official website]. Remaining suspects of the more than 800 civilians arrested will be arraigned on July 27.

Last month, a Bangladesh military court sentenced 657 border guards for their part in the mutiny [JURIST report], bringing the total number of soldiers jailed for the mutiny to more than 3,000. Last January, the civilian trial of 800 soldiers charged [JURIST report] with crimes stemming from their roles in the 2009 mutiny began in the capital city of Dhaka. The trial involves some of the most serious charges with those found guilty facing the death penalty. The trial is expected to last over a year and to include the testimonies of more than 1,000 individuals. In August 2010, a special Bangladeshi military court sentenced [JURIST report] 14 members of the BDR for their roles in the mutiny. The tribunal, led by BDR head Maj. Gen. Mainul Islam, fined each of the men Tk 100 and sentenced [BDNews24 report] them to prison terms ranging from four months to six years, one year short of the maximum possible sentence for rebellion under Bangladeshi law. About 3,500 other soldiers will face lesser charges in military courts.

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