Australian man who made false claims against Sri Lankan colleague jailed

Sydney man Arsalan Tariq Khawaja, who caused a co-worker to be locked up in a maximum-security jail by framing him with false terrorism claims, has been jailed for at least two years and six months, The Guardian reported today.

Khawaja admitted forging entries in the notebook of his University of NSW colleague Kamer Nizamdeen in August 2018 after being jealous of his contact with a mutual female friend.

The entries included death threats against then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and the governor general, as well as lists to attack police stations, an Anzac Day ceremony, the Boxing Day Test and landmarks including St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

In the NSW district court on Thursday, judge Robert Weber jailed the 40-year-old for four years and six months with a non-parole period of two years and six months.

The term was backdated to when he first went into custody, meaning he will be eligible for release on parole in June 2021.

Khawaja, the brother of the Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and dishonestly influencing a public official.

He also asked the judge to take into account further matters of forging a document for a public official to accept it as genuine and inducing a witness to give false testimony.

After Khawaja presented the authorities with the notebook, Nizamdeen was arrested and held in a high-security jail for a month until the truth was discovered.

The judge said Nizamdeen’s victim impact statement was “compelling evidence of the trauma and emotional harm” he suffered, which had left him unable to go back to his job. He has since returned to Sri Lanka.

Nizamdeen’s report of having serious flashbacks to his time in prison was hardly surprising, the judge said, given the innocent man spent part of his time in an isolation cell in a maximum security prison.

Khawaja also admitted that in 2017 he phoned authorities about another innocent man of whom he was jealous and made visa and terrorism accusations, including that the man had trained overseas.

In the call he named his brother as a possible target of the man.

The judge accepted psychiatric evidence that Khawaja had a borderline personality disorder, which provided some explanation as to why such an intelligent man resorted to such “unforgivable” behaviour. (Colombo Gazette)