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Bangladesh sentences 15 to death

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Sheikh Hasina

Dhaka, Jan 20, (AP):A Bangladesh court sentenced five former police officials to death Monday for opening fire on a motorcade of then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina 31 years ago, killing 24 of her supporters during an anti-government rally.

Judge Mohammed Ismail Hossain in southeastern Bangladesh’s Chittagong city announced the verdict with four defendants present, said prosecution lawyer Shibu Prakash Biswas. One defendant has fled, he said.

Hasina is now prime minister of the South Asian nation. On Jan 24, 1988, police started shooting as Hasina’s motorcade surrounded by her supporters was approaching the rally against then military dictator H.M. Ershad. He ruled the country for nearly nine years until 1990, when he was overthrown in an uprising.

The prosecution said the target was to kill Hasina, but her supporters formed “a human shield,” surrounding her when the shooting started. Meanwhile, a court in Bangladesh on Monday sentenced 10 members of a banned Islamist militant group to death for a deadly bomb attack on a Communist Party rally in 2001. (AP)

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