Reiterating that her husband is innocent, Arshiya Firdous on Wednesday said Australia would face the wrath of all Indians if Dr Mohammed Haneef was treated as a “terrorist” ahead of his trial in Brisbane.
“How can they treat him as a terrorist when he has not faced a trial and not been proved a terrorist?” she said, reminding Australia of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that Haneef ought to get all the facilities and rights that he is entitled to within the law.
In the morning, Haneef had called Arshiya, for the second time since his detention on July 2. “He said he was fine,” Firdous told HT.
“He asked about us (she and her parents), about Haniya (their three-week-old daughter), his mother and brother. I told him to be patient and that our people and the Prime Minister and the media are supporting us. He said, ‘Insha allah, I will come out soon.’
He said he would call his mother and brother when they (the Australian Federal Police) manage to get an interpreter.”
She hoped Australian Prime Minister John Howard would pay heed to the statements of his Indian counterpart and provide all facilities to Haneef. “Our prime minister has said that he (Haneef) should be treated fairly and properly, and I hope that he listens to his advice,” she said. “Otherwise, all Indians will turn against Australia. They have cancelled my visa (on Tuesday). That’s okay because I am not going there again.”
Firdous confirmed that besides lending his SIM card to his cousin and friend Dr Sabeel Ahmed, a suspect in the unsuccessful terror attacks in London and Glasgow, Haneef had borrowed some money (£200 to £300) from Dr Kafeel Ahmed ahead of a medical qualifying exam in June 2004.
“That money was little,” she said. “It was returned soon (to Kafeel).”
Firdous said she spoke with Haneef’s lawyer, Peter Russo, and he confirmed moving an application against the Australian government’s decision to cancel her husband’s visa.
“My cousin will go there (Australia) as soon as he gets a visa,” she said.