More public support for Dr Mohammed Haneef is in the offing. A transcript of his police interview, posted on his lawyer’s website, completely negates his alleged link with the botched terror plot in the United Kingdom.
A day after the Federal Court in Brisbane restored Dr Haneef’s visa, his lawyer Peter Russo released the 378-page text of the interview to counter attempts by the Australian government and Australian Federal Police to “slander his name by innuendo and selective release” of information.
The “ROI between Federal Agent Neil Thompson, AFP, and Det/Sgt Adam SIMMS (QPS) and Mohammed Haneef on 13/07/2007-14/07/2007 at Queensland Headquarters, Roma Street, Brisbane,” shows the 27-year-old doctor had arranged leave from the Gold Coast Hospital before his arrest at Brisbane Airport. His father-in-law Ashfaq Ahmed sent him a one-way ticket by e-mail because he did not have the money to buy a ticket to Bangalore.
In addition, Dr Haneef attempted to contact the British police to explain his position about a SIM card lent to his cousin Dr Sabeel Ahmed, who is detained for his role in the unsuccessful terror attacks in London and Glasgow in June 2007.
Last month, Australian Minister for Immigration Kevin Andrews had quoted a chat room conversation between Dr Haneef and his younger brother Shoaib Ahmed (an engineering student in Bangalore) to justify cancelling his visa. In response, Dr Haneef had dared the Australian Federal Police to make public the complete text of the interview.
Russo, who posted the interview on the website of his legal firm Ryan & Bosscher, has prompted the AFP to lodge a complaint about leaking the transcript. He justified his action by saying, “We have put the whole interview in public arena. We want to show he (Dr Haneef) has not done anything wrong. He (Dr Haneef) wants all matters raised with him by the federal police and his answers to those questions put into the public arena, because of the continuing attempts being made to slander his name by innuendo and selective release of information by government and federal people.”
The translation Andrews provided on July 31 showed Dr Haneef’s brother urging the terror suspect to leave Australia as quickly as possible as “nothing has been found out about you”.
The transcript reveals this to be untrue. It shows Dr Haneef applied for leave to visit his wife Firdous Arshiya and baby daughter Haniya.
The AFP has complained saying, “The continuing attempts by Dr Haneef’s defence team to use the media to run their case is both unprofessional and inappropriate and the AFP has raised this aspect with the Queensland Legal Services Commission.”
Undeterred, Russo maintained, “It is their view. They can lodge any complaint. It is up to the legal services commission to investigate. I have not done anything wrong."
He said he would continue the legal battle even in the high court (the Australian government is likely to appeal against the lower court restoring Dr Haneef’s work visa). “We will do our best as we did with his bail and other matters in the court in Brisbane,” Russo added.