A court in Dhaka today awarded death to 152 including a deputy assistant director of Bangladesh Rifles and life imprisonment to 161 others for their role in the February 2009 carnage at Pilkhana, headquarters of the paramilitary force now renamed Border Guard Bangladesh.
Those who will have to serve life-term in prisons include former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu and ward-level Awami League leader Torab Ali.
Law enforcers bring out former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu from a court in the capital today. Pintu was sentenced to life-term in prison for his role in the February 2009 carnage at Pilkhana, headquarters of the paramilitary force now renamed Border Guard Bangladesh. Photo: Amran Hossain
Over four and half years after the brutal killings that left 74 people including 57 army officers, the court handed another 262 people, who include BDR jawans, rigorous imprisonment ranging from three to 10 years.
They were also slapped with fine ranging from Tk 5,000 to Tk 50,000 for their involvement in looting, trespass, hiding bodies and unlawful assembly.
The rest 271 accused were acquitted as their involvement with the carnage could not be proved.
The judgement in the much-talked-about crime, which shook the whole nation for its brutality unleashed over two days beginning on February 25 morning, came six days after it was first scheduled for pronouncement .
While deferring the judgement, the judge said he required more time to prepare the verdict after reading around 10,000 pages containing depositions of 654 witnesses and their cross-examinations.
This 2009 file photo shows lined-up bodies of the army officials who are brutally killed during February 25-26 mutiny in BDR Pilkhana headquarters of the capital.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Court of Third Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's in Dhaka announced the verdict at the makeshift court set up at Bakshibazar in the capital.
Besides killing the top and mid-ranking army officers, the BDR mutineers also looted arms and ammunition from armouries.
The killers later dumped the victims’ bodies in sewers and shallow graves, looted officers’ houses and held their family members hostage at gunpoint.
Of the 846 who stood for the carnage trial, 823 are BDR members, mostly jawans, and the rest civilians. Four others earlier died in custody.
Security was beefed up on the court premises and its adjacent areas ahead and during the pronouncement of the verdict.
Several contingents of security men guarded the detained convicts including Pintu to the court premises from the Dhaka Central Jail around 10:00 in the morning.
Besides 813 accused produced before the court in the morning, 10 others on bail also appeared to witness the delivery of the judgement. Three others on bail did not turn up due to the ongoing 60-hour hartal of the BNP-led 18-party opposition combine.
BGB Director General Major General Aziz Ahmed and nearly 20 persons from the victim army officials' family present at the court during today's trial.