Decision on Haneef's bail plea postponed

The Indian doctor held in connection with the UK terror plot, will have to spend two more nights in custody.
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Updated on Jul 14, 2007 03:37 PM IST
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IANS | ByNeena Bhandari, Canberra

Mohammad Haneef's bail application was adjourned on Saturday by the Brisbane Magistrate's court. The Indian doctor, who has been held in Australia in connection with the British terror plot, will now have to spend two more nights in custody.

Brisbane Magistrate Jacki Payne on Saturday afternoon heard more than an hour's submission on the reasons why Haneef should or should not be granted bail, reported Australian broadcaster ABC. Haneef will appear in court on Monday morning.

Contrary to expectations that Haneef might walk free after 13 days of detention in Brisbane, he was charged with supporting a terrorist organisation by "recklessly" giving his mobile phone SIM card to people planning the British bomb attacks in the last week of June. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo had told the media that his client was very upset about being charged with the crime.

Haneef, 27, who was working as a registrar in the Gold Coast hospital, was arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) July 2 at the international airport in Brisbane just before flying to India. He is said to have told authorities that he was on his way to Bangalore to visit his wife who had just given birth.

His wife, Firdaus Arshya, had said in Bangalore on Friday: "The ordeal is over. I am sure he will be back soon."

Haneef was arrested under Australian counter-terrorism laws after his mobile phone's SIM card was found in the possession of one of the British suspects, later identified by media reports as another Indian doctor Sabeel Ahmed.

An AFP statement said: "He has been charged with providing support to a terrorist organisation contrary to Section 102.7(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995."

Haneef moved to Australia from Britain last year on a 457-day work visa. He is the second cousin of Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed, two of the suspects being held in Britain. The three reportedly shared a house in Liverpool, Britain for up to two years and had remained in contact through phone and online messaging after Haneef joined the Gold Coast hospital.

Official documents cited by The Australian newspaper on Friday had said Haneef gave the SIM card to Sabeel Ahmed before he moved to Australia from Britain last year so that his cousin could take advantage of free minutes left on his mobile phone plan.

According to media reports in Canberra, the police have also said they suggest a possible link between Haneef and Bilal Abdullah, the Iraqi doctor charged with conspiracy to cause the blasts in London and Glasgow.

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