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Doc reaches Thailand en route to India

Haneef thanks supporters, who had backed him in his legal battle in Australia.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2007 10:30 IST

Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef released from jail after Australian prosecutors dropped charges linking him to the recent failed terrorist bombings in Britain gave the thumbs up sign on arriving in Thailand on Sunday.

Haneef flew in from Brisbane, Australia, en route to a reunion with his family in Bangalore.

"Fine. Thank you," he told reporters at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport and gave a thumbs up sign when asked how it felt to be free. He said "thanks, everyone" to supporters who had backed him in his legal battle in Australia.

Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said on Saturday that the 27-year-old doctor was free to leave the country following his release from jail Friday, but his work visa remained cancelled.

Haneef, flanked by his cousin Imran Siddiqui and his lawyer Peter Russo, flew out of Brisbane Airport early on Sunday on Thai Airways flight TG 992. Russo told reporters his client was leaving Australia voluntarily and was not being deported.

"Mohamed is very homesick and is pining for his wife and child and he is anxious to get back and see his mother," Russo said.

Haneef flew first class to Bangkok, where he did not go through immigration procedures but remained within the airport's transit area to wait for his onward flight.

Russo said his client would not give up his fight against Andrews' decision to revoke his work visa on character grounds, and would press ahead with a court appeal in August.

Haneef was arrested at the Brisbane airport on July 2 as he was about to fly to India to see his wife and newborn daughter.

First Published: Jul 29, 2007 08:17 IST