The brother of star Australian opening batsman and the country’s first Muslim test cricketer Usman Khawaja has been arrested by counter-terrorism investigators over an alleged faked terrorism plot, News.Au has reported.
Arsalan Khawaja was arrested in Sydney on Tuesday morning (4 November) following an ongoing investigation into a document, which was found at the University of NSW in August.
Arsalan will be charged with forgery and attempting to pervert justice for framing a colleague by a fabricating a terror hit list targeting senior politicians. He is reported to have done so out of jealousy, in a dispute involving a woman.
The fake targets included former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and several major landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House.
The sensational arrest of Khwaja comes about three weeks after charges were dropped against a 25-year-old Sri Lankan man Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen, a PhD student and casual IT support employee at the university’s campus in Sydney.
After being accused of creating the document, Nizamdeen was detained and incarcerated for four weeks at the notorious maximum security Goulburn prison.
Nizamdeen was later cleared of any wrongdoing, and he was released. Nizamdeen, who is now back in Sri Lanka, plans to sue for compensation for his incarceration.
Further investigation by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team concluded that it was Khawaja who allegedly produced the fake “extremist and threatening” material in a bid to frame Nizamdeen.
Police authorities said that Nizamdeen’s arrest was regrettable and have paid his court costs, but stopped short of apologising. Reacting to his brother’s arrest, Usman Khawaja has asked for privacy and said that it is a matter for the police to deal with.