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Bangladesh upholds death sentences for 139 mutineers

Supreme Court last hope for former border guards convicted of taking part in bloody 2009 uprising

Bangladesh upholds death sentences for 139 mutineers

Handcuffed Bangladesh Rifles soldiers look through a prison van as they arrive at a special court in Dhaka in this Nov 5, 2013 file photo. Bangladesh’s High Court has upheld death sentences handed down to 139 of them for their role in a bloody mutiny in 2009 in which 74 people, including 57 senior army officers, were killed at a military base in the capital Dhaka. (Photo by Munir uz Zaman/AFP)

November 29, 2017

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Bangladesh's High Court has upheld death sentences imposed by a lower court for 139 border guards for their involvement in a 2009 mutiny in which 74 people, including 57 military commanders, were killed.

A three-member panel of High Court judges in upholding the sentences said the border guards were "most brutal" and "cold-blooded" murderers.

All can appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court, attorney-general Mahbubey Alam said.

Human rights group called on the Bangladesh government to hold new trials for the 139 convicted men that meet international standards.

Many of the accused were tortured in custody and most were denied access to proper representation, the rights group claimed.

“We have long said that the atrocities that took place during the mutiny need to be investigated and prosecuted, but this should not be done through unfair mass trials after the use of torture,” said Brad Adam, the group’s Asia director.

“Particularly when the death penalty is involved, expediency cannot take priority over justice.”

The mutiny took place soon after the new Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina won elections in December 2008.

 

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