Haneef was innocent all along, but Australian police ignored evidenceApril 14th, 2008 - 11:37 am ICT by admin
By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, April 14 (IANS) Indian doctor Muhammad Haneef was innocent all along, according to evidence emerging at the Old Bailey court in London, but the Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions ignored the evidence to continue his incarceration. The 28-year-old was charged with recklessly providing support to a terrorist organisation by giving his mobile phone SIM card to his cousin Sabeel Ahmed, one of the men accused in the botched British bomb attacks.
On Friday, in the Old Bailey, Justice Calvert-Smith accepted there was “no sign” of Sabeel Ahmed “being an extremist or party to extremist views”. Sabeel did plead guilty to a charge of withholding information about terrorism. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment but released over the weekend to be deported to Bangalore.
A source in Britain has told the Sydney Morning Herald that the police in Sabeel’s home town of Liverpool had his brother Kafeel Ahmed’s jihad confession email text within 72 hours, which showed Sabeel was never part of Kafeel’s plans to detonate car bombs in London and Glasgow airports.
It was around this time that the Ahmeds’ second cousin Haneef was spending his third day in the Brisbane watchhouse after being arrested at Brisbane airport on July 2, hours before boarding a flight to India.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions (DPP) continued with terrorist charges against Haneef though they knew that Sabeel was not involved in his brother Kafeel’s plans. Haneef’s legal team were not shown Kafeel’s emails.
The bungled terrorism investigation by Australian police into Haneef’s case is still costing the taxpayer a whopping Australian $8 million ($7.2 million). There are nine Australian federal police staff working full time on Haneef’s case.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and Attorney-General Robert McClelland were recently in Britain for talks with their counterparts on cooperation in security, intelligence and terrorism investigations and the case of former Gold Coast registrar Haneef, who eight months ago returned home to Bangalore.
Former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews had cancelled his work visa, just hours after a magistrate granted him bail on July 16, 2007, ensuring his continued incarceration. The charges against Haneef were eventually dropped and he returned home last year.
In December 2007, the new Immigration Minister Chris Evans reinstated his visa after the Labour Government came to power.
A judicial inquiry to probe the handling of the failed terrorism case against Haneef is expected to start this month.