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DHAKA: Bangladesh has convicted 139 senior opposition party officials and activists in the past two days, prosecutors and lawyers said Monday, as a crackdown on anti-government protesters intensifies ahead of elections.

Those convicted included scores of activists from the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), including on historic charges over protest violence, arson and obstructing the police, with convictions ranging from a few months to up to three-and-a-half years.

BNP has rejected the verdicts as “baseless and politically motivated”. Bangladesh goes to a general election on January 7, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina eyeing her fourth consecutive term in power, despite concerns voiced by the United States and other countries over whether the vote will be free and fair.

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