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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 8 April, 2003, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Dhaka police jailed for extortion
By Waliur Rahman
BBC correspondent in Dhaka

Eight police officers and a police informer in Bangladesh have been jailed for extortion.

Bangladeshi troops cordon off a Dhaka street
Soldiers and police worked together in the anti-crime drive
A special court in the capital Dhaka sentenced the men to four years imprisonment for forcibly obtaining money during an anti-crime drive.

The sentences were passed following a brief trial in a special court known as the Speedy Trial Court.

All of the men were also fined 10,000 taka ($167) each.

The court heard that the policemen, along with four army personnel, extorted the money during the anti-crime campaign known as 'Operation Clean Heart'.

It was a combined drive conducted by police and government soldiers.

Three-month operation

Last month, a military court sentenced an army captain and three soldiers to various prison terms after finding them guilty of torturing people and forcibly collecting money.

Three of them were sacked from their services and sent to jail.

The army and police personnel were arrested following allegations that they were involved in the crimes which were committed during the three-month operation launched last October.

The campaign was intended to improve the country's deteriorating law and order situation.

Most of the 40,000 soldiers deployed for the special operation have now returned to their barracks after a visible improvement in law enforcement.

But the operation itself was criticised by local and international rights groups following the death of at least 40 people in army custody or after interrogation by them.

The parliament passed a law last month giving the soldiers immunity from prosecution in civil courts, but allowed military courts to discipline the troops if they were found to be guilty of any crimes committed during the operation.

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