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Bangladesh Islamist given last-minute stay over execution

11 December, 2013

DHAKA: Bangladesh's highest court on Tuesday halted the execution of a top Islamist just 90 minutes before he was to become the first person executed for war crimes committed during the country's bloody independence fight.

Supreme Court chamber judge Syed Mahmud Hossain stopped the execution of Abdul Quader Molla, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party described by prosecutors as "the Butcher of Mirpur", until 10:30 am Wednesday (0430 GMT), the court registrar said.

"The execution has been halted pending a hearing on Wednesday," the registrar told AFP, without elaborating. Defence lawyer Shishir Munir said they were seeking a last-minute review of Molla's execution order as the country's constitution enshrines rights for a death-row convict to have his appeal heard in the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, Bangladesh's secular government had said it would go ahead with the execution of Molla at one minute past midnight despite a global outcry over the lack of a right to appeal.

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