Arsalan Khawaja has admitted to forging entries in a colleague’s notebook that included death threats to then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull
The brother of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja has sobbed as he apologised for causing a colleague to spend a month in jail after he jealously framed him with false terrorism claims.
Arsalan Tariq Khawaja also admitted to previously making false terrorist claims to authorities about another perceived love rival, telling them the man could be targeting his famous batsman brother.
The 40-year-old was giving evidence at his sentence hearing in the New South Wales District Court on Friday, after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice and dishonestly influencing a public official.
He has 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.
Usman Khawaja also gave evidence, via audio-visual link from Brisbane, describing his older brother as having previously been “a model citizen” who was loved by his cricketing teammates.
Arsalan Khawaja broke down as he admitted forging entries in the notebook of his UNSW colleague Kamer Nizamdeen in August 2018 after being jealous of his contact with a woman 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 match and landmarks including St Mary’s Cathedral.
Nizamdeen was arrested and held in a high-security jail for one month until the truth was discovered.
“Kamer is a top bloke. He is a friend of mine and I let him down,” Khawaja said.
“I caused him a lot of pain. I caused his family a lot of pain. He didn’t do anything.”
He denied wanting him arrested, and said he just wanted him to be investigated and to leave work so Khawaja could spend time with the woman.
Asked why he didn’t tell police the truth after his friend’s arrest, he said “to be blunt, I was a coward” and didn’t want to be arrested himself.
He 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.
He accepted he had named his famous brother as a possible target of the man.
He denied wanting the man deported, saying he had just hoped that the call would “simply lead me to getting more time” with a woman connected to them both.
He spoke of being “terrified of abandonment”, of hearing voices and having hallucinations, and having been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder for which he is now being treated.
“I am ashamed of the person I had become before I came to jail.”
Usman Khawaja testified that he had looked up to his brother who had been very popular, did well at school and university, worked at IBM at a high level and obtained clearance to do government work.
“Up until this period of his life, he had been an ideal citizen … a model citizen, up until recently.”
When his brother was arrested he maintained it was a police set-up and he’d done nothing wrong, but he had since admitted his actions, undergone treatment and apologised every time he spoke to him.
He had the full support of their parents, himself and their other brother.
The sentence hearing will continue before Judge Robert Weber on 2 October.