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Haneef returns home today

Bangalore, July 28
Dr Mohammed Haneef, who was cleared of terrorism charges in connection with the failed attacks on Glasgow airport in the United Kingdom, will return home tomorrow, his family said.

The Indian doctor will fly back along with his cousin Imran Siddiqui, who had gone to Australia to arrange his release.

The Australian government had cancelled the Indian doctor’s work visa soon after a court granted him a conditional bail.

Firdous Arshiya, the wife of Dr Haneef, told newspersons that the family members were eagerly waiting for his return.

The Australian government issued a temporary visa to Dr Haneef to facilitate his homecoming.

Melbourne: The Australian government gave Haneef the go-ahead to leave the country after clearing him off terror charges but refused to reinstate his work visa.

His lawyer Peter Russo who is accompanying him said the fight to have Haneef’s Australian work visa would continue.

The Gold Coast-based doctor was released from a Brisbane jail yesterday after a charge against him of providing support to a terrorist organisation was dropped.

Australian immigration minister Kevin Andrews, who cancelled Haneef’s work visa on July 16 when a Brisbane magistrate granted the doctor bail, said the visa remained cancelled. He said Haneef’s lawyers had contacted the Immigration Department asking if the doctor could leave Australia as soon as possible.

“After taking advice, including from the Australian Federal Police, I have indicated that the Commonwealth has no objection to Dr Haneef leaving Australia. Indeed the effect of the visa cancellation is that he should remove himself, he should depart Australia in any event,” he said.

Andrews said Haneef’s Indian passport would be given back to him, although his visa remained cancelled. Haneef’s lawyer said the Indian doctor had vowed to keep fighting to have his Australian immigration work visa reinstated.

Russo added that Haneef wanted to thank Australians who had supported him throughout his detention and added that the doctor’s legal team was disappointed their client was prevented from publicly thanking Australians who supported him through his detention.

Reports here stated that immigration authorities made it a condition of facilitating his return to India that he not take part in news media photo or interview opportunities.

“This has been a severely traumatic time for him, made worse by the fact his wife has just had their first child, a baby Haneef has not even seen yet. His mother is also ill and he wants to be there with her,” Russo said.

“He has experienced an enormous wave of relief at being freed from detention, and coupled with an overwhelming urge to be with his family in India, he wished to return home as soon as possible,” he added. — Agencies

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