DHAKA - Bangladesh may hang a senior leader as early as next week after the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for war crimes, the law minister said Thursday. Mohammad Kamaruzzaman of the Jamaat-e-Islami party would be the second senior leader to hang for crimes committed during the 1971 war.

Law minister Anisul Huq told AFP he could be hanged as early as next week unless he sought a presidential pardon.

The 62-year-old assistant secretary general of Jamaat - Bangladesh's largest Islamic party - has seven days to petition the president for clemency, Huq said.

"On the expiry of seven days, if he does not apply for clemency... the sentence passed by the highest court of the country can be executed," he said.

Kamaruzzaman was found guilty in May 2013 of mass murder, torture and abductions.  The Supreme Court on Monday rejected his appeal, triggering violent clashes between police and Islamist protesters, who set off improvised bombs, torched cars and pelted police with rocks.

In the last week Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal, a domestic court, has sentenced Jamaat's supreme leader and key financier to death.

Rights groups say the trials have fallen short of international standards.