Bangladesh on Thursday hanged a senior Islamist leader convicted of war crimes after the Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal.
Abdul Quader Mollah, known as the “Butcher of Mirpur,” was executed in a jail in the capital Dhaka on Thursday night, the Agence France-Presse reported, citing a senior government official.
"The execution has been carried out," deputy law minister Quamrul Islam was quoted as saying.
Mollah, a senior leader of the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, is the first person to be executed for atrocities committed during the country’s war of independence against Pakistan in 1971.
The Wall Street Journal said his execution was likely to trigger an outbreak of violence ahead of next month's national elections.
Jamaat-e-Islami, which is an ally of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, had warned of “dire consequences” if the death sentence were carried out.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina began special trials for people suspected of war crimes in 2010 amid accusations they were politically motivated. Most of the accused are members of the opposition, the Associated Press said.
Mollah’s trial earlier this year sparked violent clashes between supporters and police. Thousands of other protesters had demanded the death penalty.
He was found guilty of five of six charges, including rape, torture and murder.