Media reports were rife on Tuesday over claims by several outlets that the brother of Aussie star cricketer Usman Khawaja has been arrested over an alleged fake terror plot.
NSW police confirmed to Starts at 60 that a 39-year-old man was arrested at Parramatta at 8.30am by counter-terrorism detectives, but declined to name him in a press conference shortly after.
However, it has been claimed in multiple media reports since that the man was Arsalan Khawaja, the brother of cricket star Usman. The arrest related to allegations he created a fake document which is claimed to have listed potential terror targets, including high profile Australian politicians and famous landmarks.
Police confirmed the document was allegedly found on University of NSW grounds in August this year.
“He has been taken to Parramatta Police Area Command where he will be spoken to in relation to the alleged Attempt to Pervert Justice, and Forgery – Making a False Document,” police added in a statement.
It was initially claimed that the list belonged to Sri Lankan Kamer Nizamdeen, 25, who was charged by anti-terror police after a raid at a University of New South Wales campus in August. However, after spending a month in solitary confinement at Goulburn supermax jail, he was cleared of any wrongdoing last month.
According to the Australian, Nizamdeen and Arsalan Khawaja were colleagues at the university, and the ABC reports it will now be alleged that Khawaja never intended to carry out the terror plots, but instead created the list to set up his colleague in a dispute.
Police reportedly said at the time of Nizamdeen being cleared of any wrongdoing: “The (Joint Counter Terrorism Team) received definitive advice on the handwriting that has resulted in the action to discontinue the prosecution.
“The JCTT acted in good faith on the evidence available at all stages of the investigation. The very nature of terrorism matter often means that police need to intervene earlier than they would in normal criminal matters.”
Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, police were hit with a stream of questions from reporters but refused to divulge many details of the case (including Arsalan Khawaja’s name) – instead stating all details will be referred to court.