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Independence came under threat briefly, observes HC

Independence came under threat briefly, observes HC

Verdict deliberation resumes today


The BDR mutiny, which took place inside the BDR headquarters at Pilkhana in the capital in 2009, jeopardised the country’s independence for a brief period as the border areas were left unprotected during the tragic incident that left 74 people, including 57 army officers, killed. A three-member special bench of the HC, comprising Justice Md Shawkat Hossain, Justice Md Abu Zafor Siddique and Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder, came up with the observation during the deliberation of its verdict on the death reference of 152 BDR men, who have been convicted for killing 57 BDR commanders and 17 others during the February 2009 mutiny.

The HC bench started reading out its judgment from 10:55am and continued till 4.00pm, barring an hour’s lunch break. Later, the HC bench adjourned the deliberation of its verdict till Monday (today) morning. The HC will start giving its verdict from 10.30am today.

In its observation, the HC bench said that the country’s independence was jeopardised for a while as most BDR men returned to their barracks soon after hearing the news of mutiny.

The mutiny at the BDR headquarters spread to 29 districts across the country through media, it added.

In total, 57 army officers had been killed in the BDR mutiny, which was considered as a mass killing incident in the history of the country. So many Army officers were not killed even during the War of Liberation in 1971, the HC bench observed.

“We have lost our golden sons in the BDR mutiny. The horrors of the mutiny became clear when BDR men conducted massacre in the BDR headquarters,” it noted.

The mutineers had not stopped after killing the Army officers. They had entered the houses of those officers inside the headquarters and inflicted torture on their wives, children and relatives, it said.

Some BDR men had orchestrated the killing incident to destabilise the country, the HC bench observed.

Following the mutiny, the BDR men wrote a stigmatised history, which has to borne by the para-military force for a long time, the HC observed.

Citing examples from various national and international mutiny, the HC bench said that killing of 74 men including 57 army officers within 30 hours was horrific, barbaric and an unprecedented incident in the world history.

The HC bench also praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her wisdom to tackle the situation in a cool mind at that time. A vested quarter hatched conspiracy to devastate the skilled and well trained force through the BDR mutiny. But, the prime minister had tackled the situation in a cool mind although she had formed the new government just 48 days before of the incident, the HC bench observed.

On the other hand, the country’s army, navy and air force earned love and honour by keeping their faith in the country’s democracy and constitution and tackling the dreadful incident with patience, the HC bench said.

The main object of the BDR mutiny was to mitigate their demands in any way by confining the army officers. To inactive the para-military force by breaking its chain of command, to carry out torture and killing incident upon the army officers in a bid to discourage them from working at the para-military force in deputation in the future.  It was also aimed at creating a confrontation within the army and the para-military force and to destabilise the country’s law and order situation, to tarnish the image and dignity of the newly formed government in the world and to hamper the participation of the army in the United Nation Peace keeping mission, the HC bench observed.

Earlier, in the morning, the presiding judge, Justice Md Shawkat Hossain, read out the introductory portion of the verdict.

Justice Md Abu Zafor Siddique, then, began reading out his part of the observation and will resume his verdict today. Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder will read out his part of observation after that.

Before the recess, the presiding judge told attorney general Mahbubey Alam that all the three judges would deliver a unanimous judgment on the matter.

The HC bench said that it would give more than 1,000 pages of observations and the total verdict was contained in more than 10,000 pages.

“We will not read out full copy of the verdict. But we will read out the total part of the observation. After that, we will deliver a summary judgment. Hence, we may need some days for the deliberations of the verdict,” the HC bench said.

After coming out from the court, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters that all the three judges of the special High Court bench are unanimous on the sentencing in the verdict.

He said that the BDR mutiny was one of the monstrous crimes in the history. Hence, the verdict and the case would become an instance in legal history.

On November 5, 2013, the Dhaka third additional metropolitan sessions judge Md Akhtaruzzaman issued sentences against the 568 accused, most of them BDR troopers. As many as 152 of them were given the death penalty, while 160 receiced life-term imprisonment and 256 others varying jail terms.

The trial court acquitted 278 other accused. Four others died during the trial.

The High Court (HC) bench will give its decisions regarding 534 of the convicts, said deputy attorney general KM Zahid Sarowar.

Of the remaining 34 convicts, six died in custody during pendency of their appeals and 28 others did not appeal against their jail terms.

The HC will also give its verdict on appeals filed by 137 condemned for the same offences.

The court will also give its decision on appeals filed by 158 sentenced to life terms for the same offences. Two others, who were handed life terms for the same offences, died in custody while their appeals remained pending in the HC Division.

The court will deliver its verdict regarding appeals filed by 225 others jailed for varying terms for helping the condemned convicts for slaying the BDR commanders and other victims.

A total of 256 persons, mostly BDR men, were handed varying jail terms, but three of them died and 28 others did not appeal against their terms.

During the two-day mutiny on February 25 and 26 in 2009, BDR troopers had gunned down their commanders at the Durbar Hall of the BDR headquarters  while BDR Week celebrations were in progress.

The BDR was later renamed Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB).

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