M A I N   N E W S

Haneef to be deported after trial in Australia

Melbourne, July 17
Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef will appeal tomorrow against the government’s decision to keep him in custody for immigration violations, as his lawyers today released new details of his alleged link to two terror suspects in the UK to back their claim of the case being “extremely weak”.

Haneef’s lawyer Peter Russo said they would challenge immigration minister Kevin Andrews’ decision to cancel his work visa yesterday hours after he got bail after being charged by the Australian police for his “reckless support” to a terrorist organisation. Andrews said Haneef would be deported from Australia after legal proceedings were over.

The details, contained in documents the government used to back a decision to revoke his visa on character grounds, include that he chatted online with Sabeel Ahmed about his daughter’s birth on June 26, three days before the failed plot. He also took a 300 pound loan from Kafeel Ahmed so he could afford to sit in a medical exam in the UK in 2005. The Ahmeds are the second cousins of Haneef.

The defence lawyers said they released the documents, which were provided to them by government officials, because they were in the public interest and backed their claim that the case against Haneef was “extremely weak”.

Andrews, who defended his decision to revoke Haneef’s visa amid growing criticism of the government’s handling of the case, said the doctor would be deported from Australia after legal proceedings were over.

Haneef (27) will remain in immigration detention until his trial and after that it was unlikely he would be allowed to remain in Australia, Andrews said.

Queensland premier Peter Beattie joined the chorus of protests over the government’s handling of the case, saying that the visa revocation might well be justified but looked heavy-handed.

Russo, meanwhile, accused the Australian government of using anti-terror laws to conceal its probe from the public and said laws regarding the maximum period of detention were unclear in Australia.

The documents provided to the defence lawyers by the immigration department cite police interviews with Haneef in which he acknowledged that he lived with the Ahmed brothers at a boarding house in Liverpool, England, and that he stayed in touch with them when he moved to Australia in September last year.

Haneef’s last contact with Sabeel Ahmed was on June 26, the day Haneef’s wife gave birth to a baby girl in Bangalore.

His last chat with Kafeel Ahmed was in March or April of this year, the documents said.

According to the department of immigration papers, Haneef, who also goes by the name of Ather, arrived in Australia with his wife on September 11, 2006, on a four-year business visa. — PTI



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