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