Brother of Australian Cricket Star Usman Khawaja Arrested Over Terrorism 'Hit List'
The brother of Australian cricket star Usman Khawaja has been arrested for allegedly forging an “ISIS-style hit list” which resulted in a colleague of his being arrested on terrorism charges.
UPDATE: Arsalan Khawaja has been granted bail after being been charged with attempting to pervert justice and forgery.
Khawaja will have to surrender his passport, provide a surety of $50,000 and must not got within 100 metres of the University of New South Wales.
Police don’t suspect Khawaja had any extremist views or plans to carry out an attack -- rather, they allege he masterminded a plan to “set-up” a colleague, PhD student Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen, and make it appear that he was an ISIS-aligned plotter.
"We believe that this was planned and it was calculated," Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.
"We have no information to suggest that there is any ongoing threat to the community arising from our inquiries into the matter."
Nizamdeen was arrested in August after the discovery of the “hit list”, written in a notebook in his desk at the University of NSW.
It listed former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and the Sydney Opera House as potential targets.
But handwriting experts were unable to link the writing in the notebook to Nizamdeen, and in October police dropped terrorism charges against him, and he was released from jail.
On October 20, 10 News First exclusively revealed Detectives had raided Khawaja’s home at Westmead as part of their investigation into the alleged set up.
At the time, Khawaja’s father Tariq confirmed police had arrived at the home armed with a search warrant.
"They have their job to do. There's nothing to worry about," he said.
Asked whether his son had any connection to the notebook, Mr Khawaja replied: "He is his colleague. He works with him. I have no idea about this. Sorry, I can't discuss this."
It’s understood Arsalan Khawaja worked at the university with Nizamdeen, and that the pair had clashed “over a girl”.
Nizamdeen is planning to sue NSW Police over his arrest and four weeks in custody inside Goulburn’s Supermax jail.
Assistant Commissioner Willing on Tuesday said Nizamdeen's arrest was regrettable and police have paid his court costs, but stopped short of apologising.
"We feel very sorry for him and what was happened to him but what we will be alleging is that he was set up in a planned and calculated manner," he told reporters in Sydney.
"Motivated, in part, by a personal grievance."
Asked whether that grievance was over a woman, Mr Willing said: "We will allege that that is part of the process".
He said the matter was complicated and had taken up an "enormous" amount of resources.
"We were determined to get to the bottom of who was responsible and we are alleging we've done that now," he said.
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said he stands by the decision to arrest Mr Nizamdeem at the time, given the "serious threats to a number of high-profile politicians and a iconic sites" in the notebook.
"At all times we've acted in good faith, we've acted expeditiously," he told reporters.
Speaking in his home country of Sri Lanka last month, Nizamdeen described the investigation as “immature, unprofessional, irresponsible, embarrassing, and biased.”
He said he had denied several times that the handwriting was his.
"I think those that were involved in the production and manufacture of these documents are the ones that have had an impact on Mr Nizamdeen", said Willing on the day police announced the charges were being dropped.