Australian government bars information on Haneef

December 1st, 2009 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS  

By Paritosh Parasher
Melbourne, Dec 1 (IANS) Australia has refused to divulge some parts of a “potentially explosive diplomatic” cable from its high commission in New Delhi about India-born doctor Muhammad Haneef, who was mistakenly detained on terror charges, a media report said.

Haneef, a former Gold Coast registrar, was held in Australia for three weeks in July 2007 after being charged with supporting a terrorist organisation by “recklessly” giving his mobile phone SIM card to people planning bomb attacks in Britain.

The charges against Haneef were eventually dropped and he returned to his family in Bangalore.

The communique is believed to have the details of the concern expressed by the Indian government over Haneef’s detention.

The cable has been suppressed partially, according to The Australian newspaper, by the prime minister’s department because of the apprehension that it would affect Australia’s international relations.

It was sent from the Australian high commission in New Delhi after then High Commissioner John McCarthy was summoned to the Indian external affairs ministry. The Australian envoy was summoned to express India’s concern and also to emphasise that Haneef be treated fairly.

It is believed in the diplomatic circles that the Haneef episode along with recent attacks on the India students in Australia has strained Canberra’s relations with New Delhi.

(Paritosh Parasher can be contacted at paritoshparasher@yahoo.com)

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