Police in Bangladesh March 1 charged more than 1,000 members of the paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in last week’s border guards mutiny, which killed dozens of top BDR officers, including the force’s commander. The government plans to organize a special tribunal to try the organizers of the revolt. Among those charged are six accused of planning the revolt, including four deputy assistant directors. The government said that a previous offer of amnesty from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would not apply to those directly involved in the mutiny. The revolt was motivated by disputes over pay, conditions, and the selection of top officers from the regular army rather than from within the BDR.
The incident comes in a time of difficult transition for Bangladesh. Bangladeshi voters elected Hasina in December 2008, ending two years of military rule. In January, Justice Minister Shafique Ahmed declared his government’s desire to restore Bangladesh’s 1972 constitution. Prior to the elections, interim Bangladeshi president Iajuddin Ahmed signed the Emergency Powers (Repeal) Ordinance of 2008, lifting a two-year state of emergency to allow for political campaigning. The state of emergency, declared in January 2007, suspended democratic rights throughout the country. (Jurist, March 1)
See our last post on Bangladesh.