Arsalan Khawaja charged over alleged ‘hitlist’ that led to wrongful arrest of student Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen.
The brother of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja has been charged with attempting to pervert justice and forgery after he allegedly used fake documents containing a terror plot to kill senior politicians to “set up” his colleague over a personal grievance.
Police confirmed on Tuesday that Arsalan Khawaja had been formally charged after he was arrested on Tuesday as part of an investigation into a fake terrorism “hit list” found in a university notebook.
He faces one count of attempting to pervert justice and one count of forgery for allegedly making a false document. Khawaja has been refused bail and will appear in Parramatta Local Court later today.
Khawaja had previously been questioned by police in relation to the notebook, which resulted in the wrongful arrest of PhD student Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen in August.
“We believe that this was planned and it was calculated,” Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing said.
“We have no information to suggest that there is any ongoing threat to the community arising from our inquiries into the matter.”
Nizamdeen, a student from the University of New South Wales, was falsely accused of plotting Islamic State-inspired lone-wolf attacks on a list of targets including the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House.
The prosecution relied almost exclusively on a notebook police said contained details of the plot.
But the case fell apart when handwriting experts were unable to link the writing in the notebook to Nizamdeen, and in October the charges were dropped. Police then set about investigating who had written the fake hit list. In October, officers raided Khawaja’s home in the Sydney suburb of Westmead.
Police will allege Khawaja attempted to set up Nizamdeen because of a dispute over a girl. On Tuesday Willing said police believe he was “motivated, in part, by a personal grievance.”
He told reporters he felt sorry for Nizamdeen, but did not apologise.
“We feel very sorry for [Nizamdeen] 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.
Khawaja was arrested in Parramatta, western Sydney, on Tuesday. He was taken to the Parramatta police area command where police said he would be questioned in relation to an alleged attempt to pervert justice, and forgery by making a false document.
In a statement earlier on Tuesday New South Wales police confirmed a 39-year-old man had been arrested as part of a joint counter-terrorism investigation. “The arrest relates to documents allegedly found on University of NSW grounds in August this year containing plans to facilitate terrorism attacks,” the statement read.