Dhaka: Five former police officials were sentenced to death by a Bangladesh court on Monday for opening fire on a motorcade of then Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in 1988 that killed her 24 supporters during an anti-government rally.
The court in southeastern Bangladesh's Chittagong city handed down the verdict on Monday after the completion of the defence's argument, the Dhaka Tribune reported. As many as 53 witnesses testified in the court over the attack on the current Prime Minister Hasina's convoy.
Four of the five convicts -- Mostafizur Rahman, Pradip Barua, Shah Md Abdullah, and Mamtaj Uddin were present before the court, while one Gobinda Chandra Mondal is absconding.
On January 24, 1988, police opened fire on the motorcade of the then Awami League President Hasina, now prime minister, while she was going to address a rally in Chittagong city against the regime of then military dictator HM Ershad.
The attack, in which 24 people were killed, was seen by Awami League leaders as an ?attempt to assassinate? Hasina.
On March 5, 1992, a case was filed when former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia came to power, but no action was taken for years. Hasina took office when Zia's five-year term ended in 1996 and began the investigation into the killings.
On May 14, 1998, the police submitted a charge sheet against 47 people. Later, the court directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) seeking further investigation of the case.
On October 14, 1999, the country's Criminal Investigations Department charged eight policemen with murder. Of them, three accused have passed away....