UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay yesterday called for staying the execution of Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
The UN human rights chief has written to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to halt the execution.
The European Union and the United Kingdom expressed concern at media reports that the government has moved to execute Mollah.
The EU delegation to Bangladesh in a statement said the EU has followed the judicial proceedings in Bangladesh concerning the crimes committed during the war preceding the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
From the start of the trial, the EU had repeatedly expressed concern about the possible application of the death penalty under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, read the statement.
The EU notes the concerns that have been expressed by the United Nations special rapporteurs on independence of judges and lawyers and on summary executions regarding the lack of opportunity for appeal or review of the sentence. The EU called for addressing these concerns before taking the process further, mentioned the release.
The union of the European countries also reiterated its position regarding the recent death penalties issued by the International Crimes Tribunal and the Supreme Court as well as the 152 death sentences that were recently handed down in the trial following the BDR mutiny in 2009.
It also called on the Bangladeshi authorities to commute these sentences and to introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step towards definitive abolition of capital punishment.
Meanwhile, in another press statement yesterday, Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi said the UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle and considers that its use undermines human dignity and that there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value.
“We further note that Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to death following an appeal permitted under retrospectively applied legislation, and that he was not permitted to review his sentence before the Supreme Court,” she added.
Warsi said Bangladesh's commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights require that all citizens be treated equally before the law.
In a statement last month, Navi Pillay had urged the Bangladesh government not to proceed with the death penalty in cases before the International Crimes Tribunal, particularly given concerns about the “fairness of the trials.”
The UN opposes the imposition of death penalty under any circumstance, even for the most serious international crimes.