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Australian Minister defends revocation of Haneef's visa

Australian Govt's decision to revoke Mohamed Haneef's visa does not override the decision of a magistrate to grant him bail, says country's Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

world Updated: Jul 17, 2007 08:28 IST

Australian Government's decision to revoke Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef's visa does not override the decision of a magistrate to grant him bail, country's Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said on Tueday.

Defending Monday's decision to cancel Haneef's 457 temporary skills visa, Andrews said this has been done because he "reasonably suspected" that Haneef had an association with people involved in terrorism.

Yesterday the minister intervened to keep Haneef behind bars just hours after he was granted bail by Brisbane Magistrates Court on a charge of recklessly providing support to terrorism.

However, Andrews said it cast no aspersion on Haneef's guilt or innocence. "Nothing that I have done has said anything one way or the other about the innocence or the guilt to be determined by the court of Haneef," he told Channel 7.

"What I have said, though, is that given the information that I have got and given my responsibility to the national security and the national interest, then I didn't believe I had any other alternative but to remove his passport," he added.

Haneef would receive a fair trial, Andrews said.

"There's trials that happen every day that the media have commented on. But those trials go ahead, and we have a system, and the judges of the courts in Australia are very good at ensuring a fair trial," he said.

After being held in custody for almost two weeks under anti-terrorism laws, 27-year-old Haneef was charged on Saturday with "recklessly" supporting a terrorism organisation, for providing a mobile phone SIM card to a relative involved in the failed UK car bomb attacks.

First Published: Jul 17, 2007 08:26 IST