(Corrects year in fifth paragraph)
DHAKA, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced a top Islamic leader to death for war crimes during the country's 1971 independence war, rejecting an earlier life sentence imposed by a war crimes tribunal.
The tribunal found Abdul Quader Mollah, assistant secretary general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, guilty of murder, rape and torture on Feb. 5.
The life sentence imposed at the time triggered protests by people hoping he would get the death penalty.
In response to such protests, Bangladesh's parliament amended a law to allow the state to appeal any verdict reached in the war crimes trials deemed inadequate.
Mollah's party, the Jamaat, opposed Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan in the 1971 war but it denies accusations that some of its leaders committed murder, rape and torture during the conflict.
More than 100 people have been killed in protests and counter-protests since January, when the tribunal set up by the government delivered its first verdict. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel)