Minister who revoked Haneef’s visa to face inquiry

October 14th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Oct 14 (IANS) Former Australian immigration minister Kevin Andrews, who had controversially cancelled Indian doctor Muhammad Haneef’s work visa, will give evidence Wednesday before the inquiry investigating the botched terrorism case.The Justice John Clarke inquiry is investigating the series of events from the arrest of Haneef at Brisbane International Airport July 2, 2007 until his release from detention and return home.

Haneef, a former Gold Coast registrar, was incarcerated in Australia for three weeks last year in 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.

Andrews, who will give evidence Wednesday behind closed doors, came under much criticism for cancelling Haneef’s visa hours after a Brisbane magistrate granted him bail on July 16, 2007.

The charges against Haneef were later dropped and he returned to his family in Bangalore on July 29 last year. Haneef’s work visa was reinstated last December by the new Labour Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

“Unfortunately, the flawed process of an inquiry without legislative… coercive powers, means that we do not get the opportunity to question Mr. Andrews. We do not have the opportunity to hear him give evidence and we do not get the opportunity to cross examine him,” Haneef’s lawyer Rod Hodgson told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“It’s flawed and there’s a real risk that because of those flaws Mr. Andrews will not be subject to the same rigorous scrutiny that might occur if other people had the opportunity to question him,” Hodgson added.

Recently, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) dropped its investigation, after over a year of pursuing the botched terrorism case against Haneef that has caused the AFP much embarrassment and cost the taxpayer A$8.5 million (US$6.02 million).

Haneef is expected to seek compensation after the federal inquiry into the case is over.

The Clarke Inquiry, instituted by the Kevin Rudd-Labour government, will report its findings Nov 14.

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