Bangladesh's highest court has upheld a death sentence for a senior member of the country's largest Islamist party who was convicted of committing crimes against humanity during the country's independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

Jamaat-e-Islami party's Mir Quasem Ali had appealed a verdict handed down by a special tribunal in 2014 finding him guilty on eight war crimes charges, including the abduction and murder of a young man in a torture cell. Ali was sentenced to death on two counts, as well as to 72 years in prison on the other charges.

On Tuesday, a five-judge Supreme Court panel led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha said the earlier verdict should hold.

Bangladesh accuses Pakistani soldiers and local collaborators of killing 3 million people during the nine-month war.