Niza­mdeen's friends re­ject al­le­ga­tion that he had any dis­pute with Khawaja

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

The brother of Aus­tralian Test star Us­man Khawaja was this week charged over an al­leged ter­ror hitlist for which Sri Lankan Kamer Niza­mdeen was wrongly blamed but Mr Niza­mdeen’s friends re­jected al­le­ga­tions that a dis­pute over a woman trig­gered the af­fair.

Ar­salan Khawaja, 39, ap­peared in court on Tues­day charged with per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice and forgery mak­ing a doc­u­ment.

He, like Mr Niza­mdeen, 25, worked in the IT sec­tion of the Univer­sity of NSW in Syd­ney, where the Sri Lankan was also com­plet­ing a PhD while on a stu­dent visa.

Mr. Niza­mdeen was ar­rested when a note­book was found which was said to be his, and con­tained notes on ter­ror­ist at­tacks ap­par­ently planned against the Aus­tralian prime min­is­ter and for­eign min­is­ter and var­i­ous Syd­ney land­marks.

The Sri Lankan, who was pop­u­lar on cam­pus with friends and staff and en­joyed a good rep­u­ta­tion for his IT abil­i­ties, spent a month in a max­i­mum se­cu­rity jail but was re­leased when it was found that the hand­writ­ing in the note­book in re­la­tion to ter­ror at­tacks was not his.

Charges against him were dropped in Oc­to­ber and he flew home to Sri Lanka, clearly an­gry at be­ing wrongly charged and im­pris­oned.

The charges against Mr Khawaja do not re­late to ter­ror­ism but of try­ing to frame Mr Niza­mdeen through false ev­i­dence and forgery. When Mr Niza­mdeen was ar­rested, it was said po­lice had been fol­low­ing a tipoff from a staff mem­ber at the univer­sity.

The Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion ( ABC) re­ported this week that jeal­ousy over Mr Niza­mdeen’s suc­cess in Aus­tralia and a dis­pute over a woman lay be­hind Mr Khawaja’s al­leged at­tempt to fo­ment an in­ci­dent to bring the Sri Lankan into dis­re­pute.

This claim was re­jected by a friend of Mr Niza­mdeen’s who spoke to the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald and said the re­port about a woman was “wrong”.

“Kamer did not have any griev­ances or dis­putes with any­one. The idea that Kamer had a dis­pute with [ Mr Khawaja] is wrong ... he didn't have any dis­pute with any­body in re­la­tion to a third party,” the friend said, re­quest­ing anonymity.

There are re­ports that Mr Niza­mdeen might sue Aus­tralian po­lice; he and his lawyer have ac­cused the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of be­ing “im­ma­ture, em­bar­rass­ing and bi­ased”.

NSW As­sis­tant Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mick Will­ing said he re­gret­ted that Mr Niza­mdeen had been charged but de­fended his of­fi­cers’ ac­tions say­ing “the ter­ror­ist threat in this coun­try con­tin­ues to be very real, and the very na­ture of these of­fences often means that we need to in­ter­vene early”.

Mr Niza­mdeen said last month that his fu­ture had been “ru­ined” and that he hoped to pick up “the pieces of my shat­tered life” with the help of the Sri Lankan pub­lic.

"What au­thor­i­ties have done to this young man is ab­so­lutely un­for­giv­able” Mr Niza­mdeen’s lawyer, Mustafa Kheir, said af­ter the Sri Lankan was ex­on­er­ated.

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