Test cricketer Usman Khawaja’s brother arrested over fake terror ‘hit list’

Arsalan Khawaja, right, the brother of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja, leaves Parramatta Police Station in Sydney on Dece. 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 04 December 2018
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Test cricketer Usman Khawaja’s brother arrested over fake terror ‘hit list’

  • Arsalan Khawaja convinced Australian police his university colleague Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen was embroiled in a plot to kill the then prime minister
  • Sri Lankan-born PhD student Nizamdeen spent a month in solitary confinement at a remote high-security prison

SYDNEY: The brother of Australia Test cricketer Usman Khawaja was charged by police Tuesday with framing a love rival for a “hit list” that sparked a major counterterrorism investigation.
Arsalan Khawaja, 39, was released on bail after appearing in a Sydney court on charges of forgery and attempting to pervert justice.
For months he appears to have convinced Australian police that his 26-year-old university colleague Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen was embroiled in a plot to kill then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Sri Lankan-born PhD student Nizamdeen spent a month in solitary confinement at a remote high-security prison, where he was questioned about targets including not just Turnbull, but reportedly also the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House.
He was eventually released in September, when police realized the script did not match his handwriting. The charges were later dropped.
“What we will be alleging is that he (Nizamdeen) was set up in a planned and calculated manner. Motivated, in part, by a personal grievance,” New South Wales assistant commissioner Mick Willing told reporters.
Willing said police believe Khawaja orchestrated the set-up and may have been motivated by a dispute over a woman.
“We will allege that that is part of the process. But as you can appreciate, the matter is before the court, so we can’t go into much detail,” said Willing.
Australian police now say they “regret” arresting and holding Nizamdeen, and have paid his court costs. Willing confirmed there is no ongoing threat to the community.
Nizamdeen is seeking further damages from authorities and has since returned to Sri Lanka.
“What authorities have done to this young man is absolutely unforgivable,” his lawyer Moustafa Kheir said after the charges were dropped in October.
“It’s a terrible experience. He is a young man that has done everything right in life. And he has gone through supermax jail — unforgivable circumstances.”
Nizamdeen’s exact relationship with Khawaja has not been stated by police.
Pakistan-born Australian batsman Usman Khawaja, who is due to make a return from injury this Thursday against India in the first of a four-Test series, made a brief statement calling for privacy while the case ran its course.
“This is a matter for police to deal with. Out of respect for the process it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment,” he said.


Virat Kohli savors first India win over Australia Down Under for a decade

Updated 10 December 2018
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Virat Kohli savors first India win over Australia Down Under for a decade

  • India's last triumph on Australian soil at the WACA in Perth in 2008
  • Kohli confident win sets tourists up for a series win.

ADELAIDE: Virat Kohli said it was “very special” to captain India to their first Test win in Australia for a decade and gave his side crucial momentum in their bid for a maiden series victory.
The visitors won a tightly-contested opening Test in Adelaide by 31 runs on the fifth day after setting Australia a target of 323, which would have been a record run chase at the ground.
It was a big breakthrough for Kohli’s men, with their last triumph on Australian soil at the WACA Ground in Perth in 2008. In Adelaide, their sole previous win was in 2003.
“Obviously it’s a great feeling. We’ve never taken a lead in a series in Australia, something that for us is a huge boost,” he said.
“And it’s given us the right momentum that we needed to play a big series like this and it’s something that we’ve had to work hard for.
“Any Test victory is special because you work hard over five days, and then the physical and the mental toil and the emotion of it all comes together in a result is a very special feeling.”
Kohli, who has long led India’s batting charge with admirable consistency across all three formats but failed to fire in Adelaide, said he believed his team collectively were better than Australia and deserved to win.
The victory was built on Cheteshwar Pujara’s first innings 123 and his second innings 71, while wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant took a world record-equalling 11 catches.
“It was priceless from Pujara, we were down and out at lunch on day one. His grit and determination brought us back in it,” said Kohli.
“We always knew that runs on the board would make the home side tentative. Any lead was gold and we got 15. In the second innings again, he and Rahane batted well.”
Asked if thought 323 would be enough to win, Kohli said his middle and lower order could have done better after a five for 25 collapse at the end of the second innings.
“We could have added another 30-35 runs more which could have taken the game totally beyond Australia,” he said.
“So these are things that we have to think about going to Perth, but if someone had told me before the series that I would be 1-0 up as soon we started the series, I would have taken it with both hands.”
The second Test starts on Friday in Perth, with Melbourne and Sydney to follow.