Bangladesh's Parliament has amended the country's war crimes law, allowing prosecutors to appeal the life sentence given to an opposition leader for his role in mass killings during the 1971 war for independence.

Prior to Sunday's passing of the amendment to the 1973 war crimes law, only a defendant could appeal a sentence.

The change will allow state prosecutors to appeal the life sentence handed down to Abdul Quader Mollah for his role in the killing of 381 civilians during the 1971 war against Pakistan. The prosecution had sought the death penalty for Mollah, and many Bangladeshis took part in mass protests demanding he be executed.

Mollah is a leader of Bangladesh's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-islami.