Howard rejects Haneef's demand for honorary citizenship | world | Hindustan Times
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Howard rejects Haneef's demand for honorary citizenship

world Updated: Aug 06, 2007 08:39 IST

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Monday turned down Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef's request for an "honorary citizenship", saying no such category existed for the authorities to entertain.

Haneef, who returned to India a week ago after a terrorism charge against him was dropped, told Australian media he would like to ask Howard for "honorary citizenship of Australia" because he was a good doctor.

"I won't be doing that," Howard was quoted by a local TV network.

"There is no case for that to occur and ... I'm not sure that we have honorary Australians anyway, but he wouldn't be the sort of person you'd make an honorary Australian," he said.

"But I'm not aware that there is such an animal, such a person, such a beast. I don't think so, I don't think we have honorary Australians, do we?"

Haneef wanted to return to Australia to finish his medical training, despite his four weeks in detention and the cancellation of his work visa.

Meanwhile, Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo had arrived back from India on Sunday and said the family of the former gold Coast registrar wanted to sue the Government over the failed terror charge against him.

He said Haneef's family wanted compensation for lost income and damage to his reputation, though his client had not asked him to pursue civil action against the Government.

"You've got to understand the Indians' mentality - the mentality is to sue," Russo said on ABC radio.

"I didn't realise that until I got over there and started talking to some of the relatives. But he specifically hasn't asked me to sue," he said.