DHAKA: A Bangladeshi court sentenced 152 soldiers to death and jailed hundreds more on Tuesday over a 2009 military mutiny that left scores of top officers massacred.
Some 823 soldiers were charged with murder, torture and other offenses over the mutiny, in which 74 people were hacked to death and burnt alive before their bodies were dumped in sewers and shallow graves.
The soldiers went on a killing spree partly in anger that their pleas for better pay and treatment had long been ignored.
At least another 400 soldiers were jailed, with terms ranging from several years to life, over the 30-hour uprising that started at the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters and spread to other bases.
“The atrocities were so heinous that even the dead bodies were not given their rights,” Judge Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman told the packed court in the capital Dhaka as he read out the verdicts.
Death sentences are common in Bangladesh, where they are handed down for militancy, multiple murder and coup-related offenses.
The judge acquitted another 270 soldiers, prompting chaotic scenes in the court, with many cheering and crying out “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).
Several of those convicted screamed at the judge in anger, with one elderly soldier crying out: “I am innocent. You will face Allah’s wrath.”
“I don’t need a life term. Hang me, hang me,” another shouted.
Nearly 6,000 soldiers have already been convicted by dozens of special courts over the mutiny, whose dead victims included 57 top army officers. see more