Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dr Haneef Back Home In India

Keelty : The Brits Blew It

Claim : $200,000 For Haneef's First Interview

UPDATE : Contrary to earlier reports, presumably leaked by the police involved, and that we based the last lines in the below story on, Dr Haneef said in his first public statement that he was victimised by the authorities during his time in their custody.

Dr Mohamed Haneef has arrived back in India after three weeks in Australian custody, leaving behind a storm of controversy assaulting the Howard government and the Australian Federal Police.

Howard sent Tony "The Cleaner" Abbott and Malcolm "Mr Nice Guy" Turnbull onto Sunday morning talk shows to try and undo some of the political damage the Haneef fiasco has caused. Abbott and Turnbull's main line of parry and defence was to claim the Rudd opposition supported the government over what happened to Dr Haneef. Disingenuous at best.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, is pushing the main blame for the Haneef fiasco back onto the British authorities, who he claims first told them that a SIM card once owned by Dr Haneef was found in the burning vehicle that crashed into glass doors at an airport in Scotland earlier this month. It was later revealed the SIM card was found hundreds of miles away.

Stories this morning claim that Dr Haneef was paid between $100,000 and $200,000 for an exclusive interview with the 60 Minutes television program.

The interview was said to have been conducted in the hours at the airport before Dr Haneef boarded the plane that took him back home, and back to his family.

Here's the Mick Keelty 'Blames The Brits' story from the Sydney Morning Herald:
Mr Keelty said British police initially told AFP investigators that Dr Haneef's mobile phone SIM card had been found inside a Jeep allegedly used by his second cousin, Kafeel Ahmed, in a failed car bombing in Glasgow on June30.

Instead, the SIM card had been found in the home of Kafeel's brother, Sabeel, in Liverpool...

But Mr Keelty said: "Whatever else you may think of Haneef, the fact remains his SIM card was found in the possession of the person labelled as a [suspect]" in the failed Glasgow attack.

Mr Keelty said the case had been "poorly handled by some sections of the media".

"There is a lot of confusion at the beginning of any complex investigation...errors in the investigation came to us from the UK...we're all under time pressures," he said.

On (Immigration Minister Kevin) Andrews's intervention in the case, Mr Keelty said: "You can't blame Andrews. He acted on our information."

A report here claims that one of the conditions of Dr Haneef's immediate release from 'home detention' yesterday was that he would not give a media conference at the airport before flying back to India :
Immigration authorities had also made it a condition of Dr Haneef's return to India that he did not speak to the media or allow his picture to be taken.

Mr Russo said he had tried to organise for Dr Haneef to speak to the media before his departure but was not able to.

Mr Russo said Dr Haneef could speak about his ordeal once he left Australia but he would rather he did not speak publicly before his visa appeal on August 8.

Mr Russo said Dr Haneef's legal team was disappointed that he was prevented from publicly thanking Australians who supported him during his detention.

"This has been a severely traumatic time for him, made worse by the fact that his wife has just had their first child, a baby Dr Haneef has not even seen yet. His mother is also ill and he wants to be there with her."
Dr Haneef's wife is obviously very happy that she is getting her husband back, after three weeks of intense pressure and damaging media speculation.

The Indian Government wants Australia to restore Dr Haneef's visa, but Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews says, for now, that is not going to happen.

This editorial from Arab News is a good example of the slamming tone much international media, particularly in Arab and Muslim states, and across India, are now taking on "the appalling treatment metted out to the doctor."

Dr Haneef is widely portrayed as a victim of a vindictive and racist Australian government, who went after Dr Haneef for being a Muslim first and above all, with his family connection to a British terror suspect as merely a grounds for suspicion.

The line taken by Howard government ministers that this fiasco has not damaged Australia's international reputation, or the credibility of its fight against terror, is laughable.

If there is any good news from this fiasco, it is that Dr Haneef appears to have been sympathetic to the police during their interrogations of him, understanding the pressure they were under, and that he was treated with a certain level of decency by those who detained him. In short, he wasn't tortured, unlike terror suspects detained in the United States, Afghanistan, Iraq and across the Middle East.

The Haneef Fiasco : An International Embarrassment

Haneef's Wife Thanks Supporters

Haneef Free But Fallout Rages

Immigration Still "Suspicious" Of Haneef As He Flies Home

Farewell From The Land Of The "Fair Go"

"Disgraceful Treatment" Of Mohamed Haneef Part Of Howard's Political Games