Haneef Sues Oz Govt for Unlawful Arrest & Defamation

Natasha Chaku/Melbourne
Haneef Sues Oz Govt for Unlawful Arrest & Defamation
Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef, who was wrongly accused of involvement in a botched 2007 UK terror attack, today sued the Australian government for unlawful arrest and abuse of power and launched defamation proceedings against former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

30-year-old Haneef's lawyer Maurice Blackburn said the suit was lodged on behalf of Haneef in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

He said a claim has been made for unlawful arrest and abuse of power against the Commonwealth government.

The doctor's legal team also launched defamation proceedings against the then John Howard government's Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, AAP reported.

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. 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 that he did nothing to justify his treatment by the then Howard government and Australian Federal Police.

Hodgson said his firm was in negotiations with the Commonwealth and the claims may never be pursued.

"We do not intend to advance Haneef's matter through the courts unless negotiations with the government appear unlikely to be satisfactory to Haneef," he said in a statement.

"The proceedings have been filed on behalf of Haneef simply as a safeguard to protect his legal rights with regard to the time limits which apply to the various legal actions."

Hodgson said the discussions with the Commonwealth were confidential.

The then Howard government and its Immigration Minister Andrews came under strong criticism for cancelling Haneef's visa, ensuring his incarceration, just hours after a magistrate granted him bail.
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