DHAKA: The Bangladesh government on Tuesday filed a review petition with the Supreme Court seeking the death penalty for a top Islamist leader convicted of war crimes during the country's 1971 war.

A war crimes tribunal set up in 2010 has sparked violence and drawn criticism from opposition politicians, including leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, that it is victimising Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's political opponents.–Reuters

Four opposition politicians, including three leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, have been convicted by the tribunal and executed since late 2013. The Supreme Court in 2014 commuted to life imprisonment a death sentence handed down to top Jamaat-e-Islami member Delwar Hossain Sayedee, 76, for atrocities committed during the nine-month war. State prosecutors are challenging that decision. "We have sought the highest punishment for him," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters, after his office filed the petition.

Sayedee's initial conviction in 2013 on charges of genocide, rape, torture and the persecution of Hindus triggered protests in which about 60 people were killed.

Anger over the tribunal's convictions and the executions has come amid a surge in militant violence in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, with militant groups claiming the murder of two foreigners and four secular writers and a publisher last year.

The government has blamed the increase in Islamist violence on the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is an important ally of the main opposition party, but it denies any link to the attacks.