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Australia tenders apology to Haneef

Admitting their mistake, Australian government today formally apologized to Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef and said sorry for wrongly detaining him on terror charges.

world Updated: Dec 23, 2010 09:45 IST

Admitting their mistake, Australian government on Thursday formally apologized to Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef and said sorry for wrongly detaining him on terror charges.

The formal apology, issued by Australian government, came after Haneef reportedly received a substantial but undisclosed compensation payout from the government following his bungled detention on UK terror related charges in 2007.

"The AFP (Australian Federal Police) acknowledges that it was mistaken and that Dr Haneef was innocent of the offence of which he was suspected," the apology read.

"The Commonwealth apologizes and hopes that the compensation to be paid to Dr Haneef will mark the end of an unfortunate chapter and allow Dr Haneef to move forward with his life and career," it said, according to AAP report.

It was also acknowledged that arresting, charging, detaining and eventually canceling Haneef's visa created "serious consequences for him and his family" by the government.

The apology, which was released by the attorney general's department on Wednesday, agreed that the terms of the settlement remain secret.

Haneef's lawyer Rod Hodgson has said that the apology reaffirmed his client's innocence.

"We congratulate the government for recognising an injustice done on the watch of the previous government and for this public apology and declaration of innocence," he said.

"The apology means a lot to our client."

Hodgson has said that the Australian people would form their own judgments about Andrews' refusal to offer his own apology.

"On one side we have ASIO, the Queensland Police Service, the findings of the Clarke Inquiry, the AFP and the current Australian government all prepared to declare that Haneef is innocent," Hodgson said.

"Andrews continues to isolate himself by his aggressive refusals to make any form of apology for his role."

As part of this week's mediation, Haneef agreed not to proceed with defamation action against Andrews.

"The claim against me was not pursued and has been withdrawn. Based on the legal advice I received, I was always confident that the claim for defamation was adventurous and would not have succeeded," Andrews said earlier this week.

Hodgson has said that the Haneef family has remained in Brisbane after the conclusion of compensation talks this week.

"They have been buoyed by the number of ordinary Australians who have come up to them to wish them well," Hodgson said adding, "Haneef again thanks all Australians for their support."