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Haneef will be deported: Australia

world Updated: Jul 17, 2007 14:28 IST
AFP
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An Indian doctor charged in connection with the failed British car bomb attacks will be expelled from Australia after his case is heard, even if found innocent, a government minister said on Tuesday.

Mohamed Haneef, 27, who had been working at a government hospital on the luxurious Gold Coast in Queensland state, has had his visa cancelled and will be detained until the charge against him is heard in court.

But Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said whatever happened in the criminal proceedings, the doctor would eventually be deported.

"The federal police will issue what's called a criminal justice certificate," Andrews said, adding that meant Haneef would remain in the country until the legal proceedings were completed. <b1>

"After that, unless there's some new information provided or if there is some change as a result of legal proceedings, he would be deported."

Haneef is to be transferred to Sydney's Villawood detention centre from Brisbane, where he was freed on bail on Monday on a charge of supporting a terrorist organisation.

Before he could be released, Andrews announced that Haneef's visa for Australia had been revoked on the grounds he failed a character test.

Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo has said he will appeal the decision. The doctor remains in police custody in Brisbane.

The revocation of Haneef's visa was widely criticised as an abuse of the doctor's civil rights, but Attorney General Philip Ruddock on Tuesday defended the decision, denying it was linked to his release on bail.

"The functions are quite separate and distinct, and the timing is irrelevant," Ruddock said in Brisbane.

"The minister has to take those decisions personally, and does so without any direction."

The charge against Haneef alleges that he provided support to a terrorism group by giving his mobile phone SIM card to a cousin in Britain who was later arrested in connection with the failed attacks in London and Glasgow.

Haneef's family has said he gave away the card when leaving Britain last year to take up his job in an Australian hospital so that his cousin could make use of the remaining talk-time.

If convicted under Australia's tough new anti-terrorism laws, Haneef could be jailed for 15 years.

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