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Police drop terrorism charges against University of New South Wales student

Police have dropped terror charges against Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen, a university student who was accused of an assassination plot targeting Australian politicians.

Nizamdeen, a 25-year-old PhD student, was arrested in August and accused of plotting Islamic State-inspired lone-wolf attacks targeting the Opera House, other notable landmarks, and the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The prosecution relied almost exclusively on a notebook police said contained details of the plot.

But the evidence against Nizamdeen was fundamentally flawed, according to the accused’s lawyers. Handwriting experts were unable to link the writing in the notebook to Nizamdeen.

Nizamdeen’s lawyers had earlier described the case as “extremely weak, almost non-existent”, while successfully arguing for bail last month.

The matter appeared again in the Central local court on Friday. Prosecutors dropped the charges and withdrew the case.

NSW police declined to comment when contacted by Guardian Australia.

Speaking outside court, Nizamdeen’s lawyer, Moustafa Kheir, flagged potential civil action over his client’s treatment. He said he would also apply for his legal costs.

“What authorities have done to this young man is absolutely unforgivable,” Kheir told reporters outside the court. “We will be seeking justice for him in the NSW supreme court.

“It’s a terrible experience, as a young man who has done everything right in life, he has gone through supermax jail in unforgivable circumstances.”

Nizamdeen’s costs application was set down for hearing on 23 November, his lawyer told reporters.

Nizamdeen spent about last four weeks in jail before being bailed last month. His family and supporters maintained his innocence, and the case prompted protests in his hometown in Sri Lanka.

Nizamdeen is in Australia on a student visa while he completes his studies.

He had no criminal history, and he was promoted by the University of New South Wales in its advertising. Nizamdeen also worked as a contractor for the university.

A court earlier heard that no extremist material was found on his computer or mobile phone.

After he was bailed, Nizamdeen’s lawyer Tweeted that the police case was “hopeless”.

“Bail granted to my client Mohamad Nizamdeen today,” he wrote.

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

Nizamdeen’s arrest came after a tip-off from a worker at the university, police said in August.

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