A new embarrassing police faux pas has been revealed in the investigation of Muhammad Haneef even as support grows across Australia for the Indian doctor charged in connection with the UK bombing attempts.
The Australian newspaper has revealed that investigating Australian Federal Police officers themselves wrote the names of overseas terror suspects in Haneef's personal diary and grilled him over it during interrogations.
According to The Australian, in the 142-page record of the first interview of Haneef by the police, soon after he was arrested at Brisbane International airport on July 2, Queensland Detective Sergeant Adam Simms states: "In your diary, you had handwritten notes. Is this your writing?"
Haneef replies: "No. This is not my writing. Definitely not."
Det-Sgt Simms states: "Now, as I was alluding to, or as I was going to show you, before .... police who have been looking through your diary have found some handwritten notes in the back of your diary. And one of these handwritten notes is details for Kafeel Ahmed. Telephone numbers and looks like an address. A couple of addresses. Now, that writing there, is that your writing?"
Haneef again denies it is his writing, Det-Sgt Simms leaves the room. He returns and says: "Thought that might have been the case. In fact, it's not. This is what's been written by police. So it's not your handwriting at all."
This is one of the many inconsistencies in investigation of Haneef's case that have come to light in the past few days. On Sunday night, AFP chief Mick Keelty in a statement said the reports that the 27-year-old Gold Coast registrar was allegedly being involved in a plot to attack the 77-storey tallest builidng on the Gold Coast were "inaccurate".
Support for Haneef is mounting from almost all quarters. Most Australians are frustrated that this federal election year, political imperatives are driving Haneef's case. The opposition Labour Party is in principle supporting the government over the issue.
However Queensland State Labour Premier Peter Beattie told ABC Radio, "My only concern with all of this is to ensure that this is properly and adequately explained to the Australian people. There are a number of inconsistencies. I was very annoyed yesterday to read a report ... that suggested there may have been some possible photographs taken of a building on the Gold Coast, bearing in mind that I'd been telling Queenslanders that I was not aware, on the advice I was given, that there was any threat to any individual or property. These sort of leaks ... to me are just crazy and unacceptable in a climate where everyone is working to defeat terrorism."
A Muslim civil rights advocate has said the handling of the Haneef case has confirmed the Muslim community's worst fears.
Meanwhile, Haneef's relative, Imran Siddiqui, told the media that he was certain that Haneef was not connected with any acts of terrorism. Siddiqui said he was here to see the legal proceedings go through fairly and take Haneef home.
Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo was hoping that Siddiqui could today visit Haneef in the Brisbane's Wolston Correctional Centre, where the doctor is being held in solitary confinement.
Meanwhile, a 29-year-old Perth-based Indian doctor whose house was searched by the police on July 14 has told The Australian newspaper that he was "shocked and scared" after becoming roped in investigations in connections with the UK terror plot.
The doctor, who remained unidentified, told The Australian, "(Our families) want us to come home. My father was crying (on the telephone). Not many people know that we are the doctors involved. I am just worried about my career, it might be difficult. If everything goes bad, I will go home. The first time (police arrived), I was shocked and scared and frightened, but as they continued the investigation they were quite friendly."