Bangladesh executes opposition leader

BY newsdesk  December 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM EST

MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Bangladeshi activists march in the street with torches and shout slogans during a protest demanding the immediate execution of Bangladeshi war crimes convict Abdul Quader Mollah.Photo by MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Abdul Quader Mollah, an opposition leader in Bangladesh, was executed for war crimes Thursday after a last-minute appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court, reports the Associated Press.

Mollah was the first execution from among many special trials started by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina involving people suspected of committing war crimes during the nation’s war for independence against Pakistan in 1971. Most of the defendants of the trials, the AP reports, are members of the opposition party.

The execution comes ahead of national elections in the country in January.