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Australian cricketer Khawaja must sort out off-field problems

Last updated on: December 04, 2018 12:22 IST
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Arrest comes as Usman Khawaja prepares with the Australia squad in Adelaide ahead of Thursday's first crucial Test against India

Usman Khawaja

IMAGE: The experienced Usman Khawaja will have an important role in the Australian batting line-up in absence of David Warner and Steve Smith in the four-Test series against India. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The brother of Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja has been taken into custody by counter-terrorism police investigating the discovery in August of a laptop computer containing a purported terrorist hit-list.


Arsalan Khawaja, 39, was arrested on Tuesday morning after being pulled over while driving in western Sydney, according to a spokesperson for New South Wales state police.

Australian media, quoting police sources, said Arsalan Khawaja was being questioned about forgery and an attempt to pervert justice.

The arrest comes as Usman Khawaja prepares with the Australia squad in Adelaide ahead of Thursday's first Test against India, the start of a crucial four-match series.

Pakistan born Australian batsman Khawaja is due to make a return from injury.

“It's a matter for the police to deal with,” the 31-year-old told reporters at Adelaide Oval on Tuesday.

“Out of respect for the process, it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comments. I just ask you to please respect my privacy, and my family's privacy during this time,” he made a brief media statement.

In a statement New South Wales police confirmed a 39-year-old man had been arrested as part of a joint counter-terrorism investigation.

“The arrest relates to documents allegedly found on University of NSW grounds in August this year containing plans to facilitate terrorism attacks,” the statement read.

Police operation stemmed from the discovery in an office at the University of New South Wales of a laptop which contained an alleged hit-list naming former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his deputy Julie Bishop.

The device also reportedly contained blueprints for attacks on train stations and landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported police were not alleging Arsalan Khawaja intended to carry out terrorist attacks but that he tampered with the laptop to frame a colleague, 25-year-old PhD student Mohamed Nizamdeen.

Nizamdeen spent four weeks in solitary confinement at Sydney's Goulburn Supermax prison before all terrorism charges against him were dropped in October.

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