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UN protests 152 Bangladesh death sentences

November 6, 2013

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights official has expressed serious alarm at death sentences handed down in Bangladesh to 152 border guards after mass trials that she says were unfair.

U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said Wednesday the trials “failed to meet the most fundamental standards of due process.”

A Bangladesh court sentenced 152 guards to death Tuesday for a 2009 mutiny. The sentences followed a mass trial involving 846 defendants — a process criticized by Human Rights Watch, which said it was not credible and that at least 47 suspects died in custody.

The border guards said they revolted over salary demands; assignments on U.N. peacekeeping missions, which come with generous perks; and better facilities.

By the time the insurrection ended, 74 people were dead, including 57 military commanders.

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