A PhD student, jailed for a month after being wrongly accused of writing terrorism plans in a uni notebook, won't receive an apology

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  • A 25-year-old university student, who today had terrorism charges against him withdrawn, is now seeking justice and is considering legal action.
  • Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen, a Sri Lankan studying at the UNSW for a PhD, spent four weeks in a high security prison before authorities found that there was no evidence against him.
  • The case hinged on handwriting experts who now say plans to assassinate Australia political leaders were not written by Nizamdeen.

Charges of terrorism against a 25-year-old university student have now been formally dropped for lack of evidence but the police won’t apologise to him for the four weeks he spent in jail.

Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen, a Sri Lankan, was accused in August of writing in a document to prepare for a terrorist act that allegedly included killing former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and an attack the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The handwriting in a notebook found in a desk Nizamdeen used at the University of NSW as a PhD student and contractor was later found by experts not to be his.

When it became apparent the police had no evidence, he was released on bail after spending four weeks in solitary confinement in the Supermax jail at Goulburn, NSW, reserved for the very worst offenders and those with a high security risk.

Today the charges were formally withdrawn against him.

Nizamdeen plans to apply for legal costs and his lawyer, Moustafa Kheir, said action would be taken in the NSW Supreme Court.

“What authorities have done to this young man is absolutely unforgivable,” said the lawyer outside the Local Court today.

Previously he had said: “Police case is hopeless, as notes in question are not his. We will continue to seek justice until my client is fully exonerated.”

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said today: “At this stage, based on the evidence we’ve got, it’s likely he (Nizamdeen) did not write those comments in the notebook.”

At a media conference, police were asked repeatedly if an apology would be given to Nizamdeen. They refused to do so when reporters said: “You have ruined a young man’s life”.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing: “I think those who were involved in the production and the manufacture of these documents are the ones who have had an impact on Mr Nizamdeen.”

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team says it was only yesterday received definitive advice on the handwriting in the notebook.

The investigation has now shifted to focus on the possibility that the content of the notebook was created by others.

“The very nature of terrorism matter often means that police need to intervene earlier than they would in normal criminal matters,” the Counter Terrorism Team said in a written statement.

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