A Bangladesh court on Monday sentenced five former police officials to death for opening fire on a convoy of then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina 31 years ago.

A total of 24 supporters of Hasina were killed in police firing during an anti-government rally.

The court of Judge Mohammed Ismail Hossain in Chittagong city sentenced the five ex cops to death, said prosecution lawyer Shibu Prakash Biswas.

On Jan. 24, 1988, police started shooting as Hasina’s convoy 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.

A case was filed in 1992 when former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia came to power, but it was shelved for years because Hasina is her arch rival.

Hasina took office when Zia’s five-year term ended in 1996 and began the investigation into the killings.

The country’s Criminal Investigations Department charged eight policemen with murder.

Three of the accused have died.

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