Bangladesh's Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against the death sentence of an Islamist opposition leader convicted of war crimes, clearing the way for his execution.
The court turned down a request for a review of the death penalty by the legal team for Abdul Qader Mollah, who was set to be hanged Wednesday before his lawyers secured a postponement.
Mollah was convicted of committing war crimes during the nation's war of independence against Pakistan in 1971. If he is executed, critics fear it could begin a fresh wave of political violence before national elections set for next month.
Mollah's party, Jamaat-e-Islami, has issued a statement warning of "dire consequences" if he is executed.
New York based Human Rights Watch has warned that by executing Mollah without reviewing the death sentence, Bangladesh could be breaking international law.
Jamaat-e-Islami sided with the Pakistan army during a bloody civil war that led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party says three million people died in the war. Independent researchers put the death toll between 300,000 to 500,000.
"The defense council of the accused, Abdul Quader Mollah, has filed for the review petition under article 105 and that has been dismissed by the honorable appellate court of Bangladesh Supreme Court, and now the execution can be proceeded as per rules."