The man who caused a UNSW colleague to spend a month in jail by framing him with a fake terror plot has tearfully admitted in court he was “a coward”.
Arsalan Tariq Khawaja was jealous of Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen’s friendship with a woman when he scrawled terror blueprints in a stolen notebook in August 2018.
Khawaja, the 40-year-old brother of cricketer Usman Khawaja, sobbed as he told Downing Centre District Court the friendship triggered insecurities and mental health issues.
“To be blunt, I was a coward,” he said.
“I lacked the courage to come forward. I didn’t want him arrested … I should have come forward.”
Mr Nizamdeen spent a month in Goulburn Supermax before charges were dropped when a handwriting expert could not conclusively prove the notebook contained his writing.
The 2018 framing was not the first time Khawaja had used sham terror allegations against someone out of jealousy over a woman, the court heard.
A year before, he made false allegations against another man to remove him from a woman with whom he developed a deep connection.
The name of his previous victim cannot be published for legal reasons, however Khawaja today explained the first woman, referred to as F1, was at the centre of his fear of abandonment.
He worried the second woman, with whom Mr Nizamdeen was friends, would cut contact with him after she sent him “triggering” text messages that “fed on the pain, the fears I had” the night before the framing.
“When I came in that morning, I wanted him (Mr Nizamdeen) gone,” he said.
“Whenever I saw him, it triggered those symptoms.”
Khawaja wiped away tears speaking about the extent of pain he had caused.
“Kamer is a top bloke,” he said.
“The guy did nothing and I caused him a lot of pain. I caused his family a lot of pain.”
He said he had spent an “immense” amount of time in jail working with psychologists, particularly on his issues linked to F1.
“I don’t think any of them will ever forgive me but all I can express is my remorse for what I did to them, particularly Kamer,” he said.
Mr Nizamdeen returned to Sri Lanka following his release but has since spoken out about how the ordeal ruined his life.