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Asia-Pacific

Hundreds charged over Dhaka mutiny massacre

media BDR members accused of mutiny summoned before a special court in Dhaka Reuters

A Bangladeshi prosecutor has charged 824 people in connection with the massacre of 74 people at a military base during a mutiny last February. They are to be tried in civil court in the captial, Dhaka.

"We have charged 824 people with murder, conspiracy, aiding and abetting murder, looting military weapons and arson," state prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kazal told the AFP news agency.

Members of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), a paramilitary unit in charge of border control, mutinied on 25 February 2009 to protest their pay and work conditions. During the 33-hour siege at a military base in Dhaka, 74 people were killed, including 57 senior military officers.

The bodies were hidden in shallow graves and sewers, and those responsible escaped in civilian clothes.

Police investigators have interviewed over 9,500 border guards and detained over 2,000 people suspected of being involved in the mutiny.

The 824 are being tried in civil court and Kazal said they could face the death penalty. The trial should take one year. 

Some 3,500 soldiers who participated in the mutiny are being tried for lesser crimes in special military courts set up by the BDR. At least 200 people have already been sentenced in to one month to seven years in prison.

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