B’desh sets up spl tribunal to punish BDR rebels

A special tribunal will ensure quick and 'exemplary punishment of the culprits' involved in the 'barbaric and gruesome' killings of army officers.

Written by Agencies | Dhaka | Published: February 28, 2009 9:35:30 am

Bangladesh government will constitute special tribunals for quick and “exemplary punishment of the culprits” involved in the “barbaric and gruesome” killings of army officers during the rebellion by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troops despite an earlier announced general amnesty.

“The Prime Minister announced general amnesty does not mean that those (rebel BDR soldiers) who were involved in killings,rebellion,arson and other heinous activities will be forgiven,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Principal Staff Officer (PSO) Lt Gen Mohammad Abdul Mubin said in a nationwide televised statement shortly after midnight.

Mubin said the government has decided to constitute special tribunals for quick and “exemplary punishment of the culprits” for such “barbaric and gruesome activities”.

He promised fast track trial of “culprits” involved in the killings of army officers during the rebellion. “They (culprits) cannot be pardoned and will not be forgiven either,” Mubin vowed,saying he was clarifying some issues as the PSO to the prime minister and minister in-charge of armed forces division “at her directive”.

His comments came as army chief General Moeen U Ahmed and senior generals held nearly two hours of meeting with Hasina as anguish visibly fumed among the army rank and file as the toll in the 33-hour mutiny rose over 67 that included BDR chief Maj Gen Shakil Ahmed who is among the dead.

Meanwhile,military and fire service rescuers resumed searches for more victims this morning after few hours of recess overnight as over 70 army officers were still believed to be missing.

Earlier,emerging from the meeting with the premier around midnight the army chief renewed military’s loyalty to democracy saying that the “armed forces are always subservient to the government”.

Gen Ahmed said he talked to the premier on the “reflection of minds of the army officers from different areas of the country” and she “responded very positively to all points.”

But without elaboration,he said “rumours are swirling … (but) the army belongs to you (people)”.

“It’s a national crisis… we will have to overcome it,” the army chief said.

Bangladesh yesterday announced three days of national mourning from Friday as the slain officers were set to be buried with state and military honour.

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