Target: President Abdul Hamid
Goal: Conduct a retrial for the 847 military personnel involved the Bangladesh Rifles mutiny
On February 25 and 26, 2009, members of the Bangladesh Rifles (now renamed as the Bangladesh Border Guards) mutinied against their commanding officers. All 847 military personnel were tried en masse but because of atrocious violations, a retrial must be conducted to meet international standards.
The mutiny between the lower ranks of the Bangladesh Rifles and their commanding officers was a bloody affair resulting in 74 deaths, 57 of which were military officers. Women who were relatives of the military officers were also sexually assaulted, even though they had nothing to do with the conflict. While the mutiny was indeed horrific, it is imperative that the trials meet international standards.
The trials that were conducted included torturing the victims for confessions, alongside other abuses that violate international standards. Detainees were beaten on the soles of the feet, their palms, or were electrocuted – some were even hung from the ceiling. Forty-seven suspects died in custody, and those that did survive the torture suffered long term physical ailments and kidney failure.
The victims had limited access to lawyers and very little knowledge of the legal process, unaware even of their charges and the evidence presented against them. The defense counsel said it would not use the confessions presented under torture, but it disregarded this promise and the confessions became a part of the evidence used in court.
An independent task force must be mobilized to ensure another fair trial. The military personnel should not be tried en masse, torture should be forbidden, and the detainees must live through the trial process. The detainees must also be aware of the charges presented against them and should have access to lawyers. Sign this petition and urge the Bangladesh authorities to follow through with this plan.
Dear President Abdul Hamid,
I am writing this letter to express my concerns involving the Bangladesh Rifles who participated in the mutiny against their officers. 847 military personnel were tried for their actions, although I have serious concerns about the way the trials were carried out. I understand that many of those were detained were tortured for confessions and statements, and while the defense council claimed they wouldn’t use the confessions, they became a part of the evidence used to incriminate them. I am also aware that 47 detainees died while they were in custody, no doubt from the torture and other abuses they endured. While I believe that a great atrocity was committed during the mutiny, your government should not stoop to the same level.
I am asking that you assemble an independent task force who will be responsible for conducting a fair trial, one that meets the international standard. They will ensure that the trials are not done en masse, and that the detainees have access to lawyers. The detainees will also know about the charges presented to them and will not be tortured for a confession or statement. These detainees will also not die while in custody or during any part of the trial process. It is crucial that your country conduct fair trials, as this lets your citizen know that you will treat them equally under the law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Juan D. Alfonso via Wikimedia