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'Haneef should never have been charged'

india Updated: Jul 10, 2008 18:27 IST
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Indian doctor Muhammad Haneef should never have been charged with terrorism offences, at least that is what the Queensland state police believed, according to a submission on Thursday to the inquiry probing the botched case of the former Gold Coast registrar.

The submission made to the Justice John Clarke-led inquiry reads: "The Queensland Police Service was of the view there was insufficient evidence to support a charge against Dr Haneef."

Earlier, documents obtained by Haneef's legal team under Freedom of Information Laws had indicated that former Liberal prime minister John Howard's department became involved in the case within 48 hours of Haneef's arrest in connection with the botched British bombings on July 2 last year.

So was Haneef, indeed, a victim of conspiracy for political gains? Documents had revealed officers from the then prime minister's department and cabinet met with counterparts from the immigration and foreign affairs departments to discuss options for handling Haneef's case on July 4.

Haneef was arrested at Brisbane airport on July 2, just before boarding a flight home to India.

The Indian doctor was incarcerated in Australia for three weeks last 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. The charges were later dropped and Haneef returned to his family in Bangalore on July 29 last year. His work visa was reinstated last December by the new Labour Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

The Clarke inquiry is investigating the series of events from the arrest of Haneef at Brisbane airport until his release from detention and return home to Bangalore.

Justice Clarke is expected to produce a public and a private report.