The murder case trial ended in 2013
The explosives case filed over the 2009 BDR mutiny, during which 74 people were killed, is yet to be disposed of even after 12 years.
The trial of the murder case had ended in 2013, with the trial court sentencing 151 personnel of the now-defunct Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and a civilian to death, 160 BDR men and two civilians to life imprisonment, and jailing 256 others for different terms.
Later in 2017, the High Court upheld the death penalty of 139 people, commuted the capital punishment of eight people to life sentences and acquitted four others. It also upheld the life imprisonment of 146 and jailed 196 for different terms.
However, the explosives case has been stuck in limbo, leaving the defence team disappointed and frustrated. But the prosecution believes it’s possible to finish the trial this year.
On February 25, 2009, several hundred BDR (nowBorder Guard Bangladesh) men staged an armed revolt at the Darbar Hall of the force's Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka. They killed 74 people, including 57 army officers.
The mutiny ended the following day with the surrender of firearms, ammunition, and grenades through a negotiation between the then government and the BDR rebels.
Three days after the massacre, the murder and explosives cases were filed at Lalbagh police station. They were later transferred to the New Market police station.
Also Read- Remembering the Pilkhana carnage
The CID had first filed the charge sheet in the explosive case against 808 people. Later, it added 26 more, taking the total to 834, to the supplementary charge sheet submitted in court.
Of the 834 accused, one was a civilian and the rest were BDR men. However, 24 of them have died, 790 people are alive, and 20 are still on the run.
The trial of this case is still pending in the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court.
Defence lawyer Faruq Ahmed said 185 people have so far testified in the case. The court recorded statements of four witnesses on February 23 and is set to record more testimonies on March 23-24.
“Its been 12 years and the trial is still ongoing. It is difficult to say when the trial will end,” said a disappointed Faruq.
However, state counsel Mosharraf Hossain told Bangla Tribune that they hope to finish the trial and expect the court to announce the verdict this year.
The 12th anniversary of the atrocious carnage is being observed with due solemnity on Thursday.
Family members and relatives of the slain army officers paid tributes by placing wreaths on their graves at Banani Military Graveyard.
The BGB flag is being flown at half-mast at all its installations and all BGB members are wearing black badges to mark the day.