Haneef’s legal team gets required immigration documents

June 17th, 2008 - 11:23 am ICT by IANS  


By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, June 17 (IANS) The legal team of Indian doctor Muhammad Haneef Tuesday succeeded in getting 250 documents from the Australian immigration department as the judicial inquiry into Haneef’s false terrorism case continues. The lawyers last month had appealed to the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane for access to documents under Freedom of Information laws after the immigration department withheld them from release.

Haneef’s legal team plans to provide the documents to the judicial inquiry, headed by former New South Wales Supreme Court Justice John Clarke, which is investigating the series of events from the arrest of Haneef at Brisbane airport on July 2, 2007, until his release from detention and return home to Bangalore on July 29, 2007.

According to the Australian Associated Press, the immigration department lawyers told the tribunal they could not release about 15 documents sought by Haneef’s lawyers because they either contain national security information or advice to former immigration minister Kevin Andrews.

Since the announcement of the inquiry in March this year, Haneef’s lawyers have been demanding additional powers that would compel potential witnesses to give evidence.

Both Andrews, who cancelled Haneef’s 457 work visa soon after he was granted bail by a Brisbane magistrate to continue his incarceration, and Australian Federal Police Chief Mick Keelty have said they will cooperate with the inquiry.

Other government agencies involved, including Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, have also agreed to fully cooperate.

Justice Clarke is expected to produce a public and a private report. He will report his findings to the federal government by Sep 30.

Haneef was incarcerated in Australia for three weeks last July after being charged with supporting a terrorist organisation by “recklessly” giving his mobile phone SIM card to people planning the botched London and Glasgow bomb attacks.

The charges were later dropped and Haneef returned to his family in Bangalore July 29, 2007. His work visa was reinstated last December by the new Labour Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

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