Bangladesh's highest court halts execution of top Islamist

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

"The chamber judge of the Supreme Court has stayed the hanging until 10.30am tomorrow (Wednesday)," Abdul Quader Molla's defence lawyer Shishir Munir said.

Molla, who had been set to be executed just before midnight, is convicted of mass murder and rape during the Bangladesh's 1971 independence war against Pakistan.