Andrews denies involvement in ‘contingency plan’ against Dr Haneef

November 14th, 2007 - 10:22 am ICT by admin  

Expressing satisfaction with his handling of the case of Dr Haneef, who was charged with having links with terrorists, which was later dropped by a Brisbane court, Andrews said he never saw an email discussing contingency plans to keep the detained Indian doctor in custody.

Speaking on the case for the first time since the public emergence of emails between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and officials in his department last month, Andrews told The Age in an interview, “As to what communications there may or may not have been between the federal police and officials in my department, that’s not a matter that I’m aware of … I was not party to that email.”

Andrews said his decision to revoke Dr Haneef’s visa was based on “character” grounds after considering a brief of evidence provided to him by the AFP.

“And, it wouldn’t be proper for me to be relying on any other material than that which was put before me. I’ve got a strict duty under the migration legislation to carry out, and that is to look at that material and make a decision based upon it,” he added.

The Minister said he strictly followed procedure in his handling of the Haneef case.

“I haven’t commented upon the decisions of the Director of Public Prosecutions or any matter which the federal police may or may not have subsequently raised,” he said, adding, “I’m simply saying, materials were provided to me, I had an act to administer, I administered that act, I made the decision and that’s that.”

Last month, Dr Haneef’s lawyers discovered emails between a senior AFP officer and a high-level Immigration Department public servant, discussing a plan to keep his client in custody if the doctor was granted bail.

“Contingencies for containing Mr (sic) Haneef and detaining him under the Migration Act, if it is the case he is granted bail on Monday, are in place as per arrangements today,” the daily quoted one email, written by AFP counter-terrorism co-ordinator David Craig on Saturday, July 14, and forwarded to Immigration Department public servant Peter White, as stating.

The 27-year-old Indian-born doctor was on July 2 detained on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist bombing incident in the United Kingdom, which involved his cousins.

The charge - of supporting a terrorist organisation - against Dr Haneef has since been dropped and the Federal Court has overturned the cancellation of his visa, although the federal government has launched an appeal.

The next hearing in that appeal will be held in the Federal Court on November 15. (ANI)

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