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Venezuelan opposition leader convicted of inciting violence

Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been sentenced to almost 14 years in jail after being found guilty of inciting violence for his role as leader of a sometimes bloody protest movement in 2014.

The verdict was confirmed in an official tweet by Lopez's Popular Will party.

The country's highest-profile opposition leader said he only ever promoted peaceful protest against the socialist government.

His supporters say the trial was marked with irregularities from the start.

In May, Lopez managed to call the largest rally Venezuela has seen since the 2014 protests through a video leaked from his cell.

In June, he staged a 30-day hunger strike to demand the government schedule congressional elections.

US officials have made Lopez's release a key demand for normalising diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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