Syed Mohammad Qaiser was born in 1941 in the village of Itakhola in Habiganj, north-eastern Bangladesh. He was politically active at an early age and in 1962 became an activist for the Pakistan Convention Muslim League.
Qaiser has been formally charged with 16 counts including genocide, crimes against humanity, and rape, in reference to his alleged actions from 27 April 1971 to 15 November 1971 during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Qaiser is alleged to have founded “Qaiser Bahini” an anti-liberation militia of between 500-700 participants that worked in conjunction with the Pakistani Army to conduct mass killings, rape, and destruction of property in the Habiganj and Brahmanbaria districts of the country. Qaiser is additionally accused of leading both the Razakar and the Peace Committee, two local anti-liberation groups that collaborated with the Pakistani Army also within Habiganj and Brahmanbaria.
As leader of “Qaiser Bahini”, Qaiser has been charged with 11 instances of killing that left 47 dead, two rapes one which resulted in pregnancy, as well as two instances of abduction and torture in Habiganj. Moreover, while leading the Razakar and the Peace Committee, Qaiser purportedly participated and abetted in acts of genocide across 22 villages throughout the Nasirnagar Upazila (a sub-unit of the district of Brahmanbaria) on 15 November 1971 that resulted in the deaths of 108 Hindus. Qaiser allegedly also participated in significant amount of destruction of property in Habiganj and Brahmanbaria, including raiding an estimated 1200-1300 houses as well as arson on an estimated 1500-1600 houses.
Qaiser fled to London after Bangladesh had officially seceded from Pakistan on 16 December 1971 and remained in exile until 1975, upon which he returned to Bangladesh. In 1979, he was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Bangladesh Parliament as an independent candidate. Qaiser then joined the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and served as both president of the Habiganj Unit as well as joint secretary general of the Shah Azizur Rahman Group. Following dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad’s rise to power, Qaiser joined the Jayita party in 1986 and in 1988 served as State Minister for Agriculture.
On 10 November 2013 the prosecution for Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal (ITCB) submitted formal charges against Qaiser. Consequently, Qaiser was arrested on May 16 2013, but was kept a private hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh due to health concerns. On 5 August 2013 he was granted conditional bail because of his ongoing health issues. Qaiser was formally indicted on 2 February 2014 and charged with 16 counts of crimes against humanity including genocide, rape, torture, and murder. Qaiser’s trial was scheduled to begin 4 March 2014.