Haneef to file appeal against visa revocation; moved to prison

By Neena Bhandari, IANS

Sydney : Muhammad Haneef’s lawyers will be filing an appeal in the Federal Court Wednesday, seeking a judicial review of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Kevin Andrews’s decision to revoke the 27-year-old Indian doctor’s 457 work visa, even as he was moved to Wolston prison on Brisbane’s western outskirts.

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Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Keelty told the ABC that the detailed taped police interview with Haneef, published in The Australian newspaper Wednesday, has not come from the police officers and it undermines the judicial process.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has accused the legal team of Haneef for giving some official documents to the media, according to the ABC.

Russo has denied leaking the police interview transcript to the media.

Ruddock told the ABC, “There are ethical standards in relation to these matters. Some of the material was clearly put into the public arena by Haneef’s legal advisers. I think the solicitor has advised this morning that he wasn’t responsible for this matter being in the media.”

Commissioner Keelty told ABC, “Speaking to the Director of Public Prosecutions this morning, we are just discussing it, and we’ll further discuss it today whether this is contempt of court because the court proceedings had already commenced,” he said.

“There are two interviews with Haneef. Only one of the interviews has been leaked and only one of those interviews has been released to the lawyers for Haneef. In other words, there’s another one that has not been released by the police or the prosecution,” he said.

On Tuesday, in a 142-page transcript of a taped interview by the Australian Federal Police with Haneef was leaked to The Australian newspaper. In the interview, Haneef insists he is a Muslim with moderate views and reveals he feared being “framed” over a mobile phone SIM card he gave to his second cousin, Sabeel Ahmed, the third person charged in the failed bomb attacks in London and Glasgow.

Haneef told the AFP he was told by his father-in-law to call British police and “let them know what’s going on.” Haneef said that he made repeated telephone calls to police officer, Tony Webster, in Britain to explain the SIM card issue, but the calls were unanswered.

He is said to have told AFP Agent Adam Simms that he knew nothing about the failed UK bombings, he had never had firearms, explosives or terrorist training and denied he had ever been asked “to take part in jihad or anything that could be considered similar to jihad”.

Haneef said that his father-in-law had booked and paid for a one-way ticket to India scheduled for July 2 “because I didn’t have any money.”

Meanwhile, there is confusion about the wording of the exact charge laid against Haneef. Ruddock was unable to put the record straight whether it was “intentionally” or “recklessly”.

Commissioner Keelty at a press conference in Canberra on Saturday had stated the specific allegation involved “recklessness rather than intention”.

Haneef has been charged under the Australian counter-terrorism laws with supporting a terrorist organisation by “recklessly” giving his mobile phone SIM card to people planning the UK bomb attacks.

However, the documents the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship used to revoke Haneef’s visa, which were released yesterday by Haneef’s lawyers reportedly say Haneef has been charged with “intentionally” providing resources to a terrorist organisation, and being reckless as to whether the organisation was a terrorist organisation.

Ruddock told the ABC that the government had not ruled out asking for a Supreme Court review of Magistrate Jacqui Payne’s decision.

Meanwhile, Australian authorities are investigating a report in The Asian Age that alleged Haneef was a senior organiser for the now-banned group the student Islamic Movement of India, when he was at medical school.

The Indian Government has demanded that Haneef should be treated “fairly and justly under Australian law”.

A spokesman for Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer told ABC that Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy had been in regular contact with the Indian government about Haneef’s case since he was arrested.

The spokesperson said, “We’re looking to make sure the Indian government is thoroughly aware of everything that’s going on in relation to this case”.