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Haneef can come out clean: Indian lawyers

world Updated: Jul 15, 2007 14:19 IST

IANS
Highlight Story

Mohammed Haneef has a fair chance to come out innocent as no terrorism law can hold him guilty for giving his mobile phone SIM card to his cousin, suspected to be part of the failed terror plot in Britain, feel Indian legal experts.

"They can't pronounce him guilty just for giving a mobile SIM card to his cousin Sabeel Ahmed, suspected to be behind the Britain terror plot, unless they prove it was given intentionally and Haneef knew about the conspiracy," said well-known criminal lawyer RK Anand.

"Till now they haven't come across any such evidence, which certainly reflects his innocence. It is very likely that he may walk out without being held guilty," Anand told IANS.

Anand added it seemed quite evident that Australian authorities have failed to gather strong evidence against him and now the Indian government should take up the issue with its Australian counterpart and lodge its formal protest.

Another criminal lawyer Rebecca Mammen concurred.

"The Indian government should come out in his defence as it is their obligation to work for the rights and safety of Indian citizens abroad."

Haneef was charged in Brisbane, where he was detained July 2, with supporting a terrorist organisation by "recklessly" giving his mobile phone SIM card to people planning the British bomb attacks in the last week of June."

The offence, according to Australian laws, carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Another criminal lawyer Vrinda Grover went one step ahead and said that Haneef was illegally detained and charged by the Australian investigating agencies.

"Haneef hasn't transferred or given any weapon to his cousin and giving a SIM card to anyone is not a sin. He has fair chances and in all probability will come out clean, but damage to his reputation has been done," Grover told IANS.

Mammen pointed out that people were charged with similar offences in India as well but had come out scot free after a tortuous legal process.

"Remember the parliament attack case in December 2001. College lecturer Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani was booked on similar charges, but was later freed for lack of evidence," she reminded.