Australian batsman Usman Khawaja’s brother, Arsalan, has been charged by police and refused bail over a fake terror plot.
Arsalan, who is eight years Usman’s senior, was arrested in Sydney and charged with forgery and attempting to pervert justice by creating a false document.
The fake plot to murder former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his former deputy Julie Bishop was allegedly contrived against another man as part of a disagreement over a woman.
‘This is a matter for the police to deal with. Out of respect for the process it’d be inappropriate for me to be making any further comment. I just ask for you to please respect my privacy and my family’s privacy during this time,’ said Usman.
Australian vice-captain Mitchell Marsh added: ‘We only found out at training, so I think it’d be pretty inappropriate for me to comment at the moment.’
The charges relate to the mistaken arrest of Arsalan’s colleague Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen earlier this year. A notebook, which supposedly belonged to Nizamdeen, listed plans to attack Sydney landmarks and kill Turnbull and Bishop. It was found on a UNSW campus.
The 25-year-old Nizamdeen was eventually released without charge, as it was proven that the handwriting in the notebook was not his. Police will soon allege that Arsalan’s fabrication of the notes was due to a ‘personal grievance’ with Nizamdeen over a woman.
The NSW counter-terrorism and special tactics command’s Mick Willing concluded: ‘We believe this was planned and it was calculated. We regret the circumstances which led to Nizamdeen being charged and the time he subsequently spent in custody.
‘We feel very sorry for him and what has happened to him, but we had to act early at the time, given the threats contained in that notebook.’