Bangladesh arrests editor of top pro-opposition daily

DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh police arrested the editor of an influential pro-opposition newspaper on Thursday after he was accused of sedition and inciting religious tension in the Muslim-majority nation.

The arrests follow a nationwide crackdown on the opposition including the detention of more than 200 senior officials of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the entire leadership of the largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

Police said Mahmudur Rahman, 59, the editor of the Bengali daily Amar Desh, was arrested from the newspaper office on charges that the daily published stories violating the country's laws.

"We have arrested him in a case filed against him in December," Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP, adding that he was also accused of publishing false and derogatory information that incited religious tension.

The December case against Mr Rahman was related to hacking and publishing of leaked calls between a judge of the country's controversial war crimes tribunal and an expatriate legal expert, he added.

Mr Rahman, who served as a deputy minister for energy in the cabinet led by (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia between 2001 and 2006, bought Amar Desh in 2008. He became its acting editor and made it an opposition mouthpiece.

Amid rising political tensions, strikes and deadly protests, Amar Desh's circulation has increased six-fold in recent months to 200,000 daily and is now one of the most visited Bangladeshi news websites.

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