Bangladesh has executed a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party after the Supreme Court turned down a last-minute appeal.

Abdul Kader Mullah, convicted of war crimes, was hanged in a prison in the capital Dhaka.

Mullah was granted a dramatic stay of execution before he was due to be hanged.

The court was adjourned before the hearing finally rejected his appeal against the death penalty.Speaking on condition of anonymity to Associated Press, an intelligence official confirmed Mullah's hanging as well as several TV stations who reported the execution.

Mollah is the first opposition member executed after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started trying people suspected of war crimes in 2010.

Most of the defendants in Hasina's war crime trials are opposition members and Mollah's Jamaat-e-Islami party stated that the execution was politically motivated.

They warned of "dire consequences" if Mollah were to be executed.The war crimes in question involve Bangladesh's 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

The government accuses members of the Pakistani army and collaborators of killing three million people during the independence war.

But the five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain, dismissed his petition eventually, removing the final barrier to his execution.

Bangladeshis had clamoured in the streets for months and forced the government to make amendments to a law and thereby facilitate the award of the death penalty to Mullah.

In February, a Bangladeshi war crimes court found Mullah guilty of crimes against humanity during the country's war of independence from Pakistan. He had been accused of orchestrating the abduction and killing of more than 200 Bengali intellectuals in the fading days of the war. Large-scale massacres of pro-independence activists in the Mirpur area of Dhaka had given Mullah the moniker of "koshai" or butcher of Mirpur.

Jamaat-e-Islami is the largest Islamist organisation in Bangladesh and was banned from contesting elections by the Bangladeshi Supreme Court in August.

Bangladesh Opposition Leader Executed
A man chants slogans as he attends a sit-in protest demanding capital punishment for Jamaat-e-Islami\'s senior leader Abdul Quader Mullah (Reuters)