Haneef Wins 'Substantial' Compensation From Australia

Melbourne
Haneef Wins 'Substantial' Compensation From Australia
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553
Indian doctor Mohammad Haneef has struck a deal with the Australian government for receiving a "substantial" compensation for his wrongful detention, three years after the traumatic experience which he said had a serious impact on his life and career.

Haneef, who was detained after being wrongly accused of having links to the failed Glasglow bombing attempt in 2007, returned to Australia last week to settle his compensation claim.

The 31-year-old doctor said the settlement would help him re-establish his career and reputation and stated that he would consider returning to the country.

The lawyers of the doctor have refused to divulge details of the compensation which was confidential, but said the amount agreed upon is "substantial".

Haneef and his lawyers completed two days of talks with the government in Brisbane today, and this will see legal action against former immigration minister Kevin Andrews dropped, AAP reported.

"Part of the agreement is that the parties not discuss the details of the settlement," Haneef's lawyer Rod Hodgson told reporters as he left the meeting.

"Although I can say that Dr Haneef will receive a substantial compensation," he was quoted as saying.

The compensation claim had also sought damages for lost earnings, the interruption to his medical career, damage to his reputation and emotional stress.

The claim has been described as unique in Australian legal history by his lawyers.

Before the mediation talks started, lawyers had said the compensation could be up to 1 million dollars.

"I'm very pleased and happy with the resolution of this matter," Haneef, who is accompanied by his wife Firdous and three-year-old daughter Haniyah, told reporters after the meeting.

"My wrongful arrest and detention in 2007 was a very traumatic experience and today's settlement is a chance to end that part of my life and move on with my family," he said.

He said he and his family still look forward to possibly returning to Australia one day, as he thanked his friends and supporters in this country and back in India who he said had been a "great source of strength".

He said he would consider the prospect of reapplying for his original job on the Gold Coast.

"It certainly will take some time to get on track to get out to Australia. I need to get my registration sorted and other things and I need to discuss this with my family," he said, adding it could take less than a year.

On his return to the country, the first time since the episode, Haneef had said he hoped the resolution of his claims would give him a chance to move on, though he believed it was "too late" for an apology now.

The doctor had said that Australia was "a very fair place" to live and work.

The mediation process was held over two days and was chaired by former judge Tony Fitzgerald, the report said.

Haneef, who now practises in the UAE, would finish a 10-day holiday in Australia before returning back.

Hodgson said the decision recognised the injustice suffered by an innocent man, and closes the book on what was a "stain" on the country's reputation.

Haneef is a cousin of Kafeel Ahmed and Sabeel Ahmed -- the two operatives who launched the failed attack on the Glasgow International Airport in the UK in 2007.

He was taken into custody and charged with recklessly giving support to a terrorist organisation when his mobile phone SIM card, which he had left with his cousin before coming to Australia from the UK, was linked to the attack.

His detention was the longest without charge in recent Australian history, and his case caused a lot of outrage in India as well as in Australia.

He was finally set free when the charges against him were withdrawn as prosecutors admitted bungling the case and an independent inquiry cleared him.

His passport was then returned and left for India voluntarily on July 29, 2007.
Next Story : Indian-Origin Air Hostess Sentenced for 8 Yrs
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