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Haneef breaks down on seeing daughter’s photos

Imran Siddiqui, his wife’s cousin who flew down from Bangalore, was allowed to meet Haneef on Tuesday, reports David McMahon.
Hindustan Times | By David McMahon, Melbourne
UPDATED ON JUL 25, 2007 06:35 AM IST

Dr Mohamed Haneef, detained at the Wolston Correctional Centre in Brisbane, wept when he saw a photograph of his newborn daughter for the first time. Imran Siddiqui, his wife’s cousin who had flown down from Bangalore and was allowed to meet Haneef on Tuesday, said both he and Haneef were in tears.

Haneef was allowed to keep the photographs of his daughter that Siddiqui had brought along. Siddiqui later said that during his hour-long visit, he tried to comfort Haneef, who is charged with providing resources to those who hatched the failed terror plot in Britain. “I didn’t tell him that we believe he’s innocent, I told him that we all know he’s innocent. I told him the family is doing whatever it can and that the people of Australia and India are behind him,” he said.

Haneef’s lawyers and Siddiqui are reportedly scheduled to meet India’s high commissioner in Canberra on Wednesday, to discuss New Delhi’s concern over the charges and impending court case.

Meanwhile, as the Australian Federal Police’s handling of Haneef’s case continued to be strongly criticised, Prime Minister John Howard ruled out an inquiry into the police investigation. The federal police association labelled Queensland Premier Peter Beattie’s criticism of the investigations as irresponsible and prejudicial. Last week, Beattie, who belongs to the Australian Labour Party, the main opposition, had compared the AFP’s handling of the case to that of the “Keystone Cops”.

“Peter Beattie is not the court of competent jurisdiction to deal with charges of terrorism or terrorism-related offences,” Jim Torr, the assocaition’s chief executive, said.

Two other state leaders, both from the opposition Labour Party, also entered the widening debate on the case. New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma backed Beattie’s call for the Commonwealth to be more forthcoming about the use of its powers in the case. Victoria Premier Steve Bracks said Australia’s handling of the case had been “very messy” and must be examined.

Howard faced more questions about the cancellation of Haneef’s visa after Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile admitted the move was designed to keep Haneef in the country pending further court appearances. Howard denied ordering Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews to cancel the visa but admitted discussing the matter with senior members of his cabinet.

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