Haneef Case: Defiant Andrews Says He Acted on Advice

Natasha Chaku/Melbourne
Haneef Case: Defiant Andrews Says He Acted on Advice
Australia's former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews remains defiant in the face of a lawsuit filed by Mohammad Haneef and defends the cancelling of the Indian doctor's visa in a bungled terror probe, contending that he acted upon the advice of his department and police.

Andrews had come in for criticism after he acted to cancel Haneef's visa, just hours after a magistrate granted the doctor bail, ensuring that he remained behind bars.

"I acted upon the advice given by the immigration department and the federal police and I had to act upon that advice which I did," Andrews told PTI here today.

The former minister, who had then said that he "reasonably suspected" that Haneef had an association with people involved in terrorism, however chose to remain tight-lipped over Haneef's decision to sue the authorities for wrongly confining him in the Glasgow terror attack case.

Haneef, who was wrongly accused of involvement in the 2007 UK terror attack has recently filed a case against the Australian government for his unlawful arrest and abuse of power and launched defamation proceedings against the former minister.

"He has a compensation case and that's a matter for the Australian government of present time. They will obviously deal with that... And take the legal advice about it," he said.

Andrews also declined to comment when asked if he now believes that Haneef was wrongly accused in the case.

"Its probably inappropriate for me to comment on that at this stage strictly because there are legal proceedings so all I can say at this stage is I had an advice at that time and I acted upon that," he said.

Earlier this month, Haneef's lawyer Maurice Blackburn had said the suit was lodged on behalf of Haneef in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

The doctor's legal team has also launched defamation proceedings against Kevin Andrews.

Haneef, who was working as a registrar at a Gold Coast Hospital, was arrested in July 2007 at the Brisbane airport after his mobile phone SIM card was linked to a failed terror attack in Britain that year in which his cousin Sabeel Ahmed was involved.

He was held for 12 days before being charged with recklessly giving support to a terrorist organisation.

However, Haneef was later cleared of terror charges as prosecutors admitted to bungling the case and conceded there was insufficient evidence.

Blackburn's partner Rod Hodgson said the court action was the result of the Clarke Inquiry's findings in the case.

He said the inquiry gave a clean chit to Haneef, stating he did nothing to justify his treatment by the then government and Australian Federal Police.
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