Haneef's visa hearing adjourned for a day

Updated on Aug 08, 2007 01:22 PM IST

An Australian court adjourns till Thursday Indian doctor's appeal against immigration minister's decision to cancel his work visa.

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IANS | ByNeena Bhandari, Sydney

An Australian court on Wednesday adjourned for a day terror suspect Mohammed Haneef's appeal against Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews' decision to cancel his work visa.

The Indian doctor's legal team argued before a Brisbane court that the minister's decision to cancel Haneef's 457 work visa because of his association with alleged British terrorists was legally flawed.

Haneef is back home after being jailed in Australia for 25 days on charges of supporting the foiled British bombings. The charges were subsequently dropped.

His visa was revoked on July 16, hours after a Brisbane Magistrate's Court granted him bail on grounds that he had failed a character test because of his association with Sabeel and Kafeel Ahmed, both allegedly involved in the botched British bombings.

At an appeal hearing, lawyers for the former Gold Coast registrar argued that the minister's decision was based on "a misconstruction of the word association".

The judge hearing the case, Acting Chief Justice Jeffrey Ernest John Spender, has been critical of Andrews' controversial character test applied to cancel the visa. He had said that by this standard he too would have failed the test as he had represented criminals during his career as a barrister.

Haneef, who has been asserting his innocence all along, has been determined to get his visa reinstated and clear his name. He wants the option of one day returning to Australia and completing his medical training.

But Andrews has said he still had suspicions against the Indian doctor. And Haneef's desire for "honorary" Australian citizenship has been rebuffed by Prime Minister John Howard as well.

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