Canberra, July 13 The Australian Federal Police today decided not to seek extension of Haneef`s detention. Australian police have no evidence against Mohd. Haneef held for 11 days without charge over failed car bomb attacks in Britain, but say he has had "significant contact" with the suspects, said local media. "The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has decided not to proceed with their application to extend the detention period of Gold Coast-based Doctor Mohammed Haneef," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said.
AFP officers now have 12 hours to question Haneef, excluding usual break times such as meals, it said. Meanwhile, his lawyer Peter Russo revealed that Haneef went through a DNA test today. "The tests were merely a routine procedure," he said.
Civil rights groups and lawyers have called on Mohamed Haneef to either be charged or set free, but Prime Minister John Howard said on Friday he was not uncomfortable with Haneef`s detention without charge under tough anti-terrorism laws. "I`m happy with the laws because I sponsored them. I defend them. We do need to arm ourselves with the laws that are being applied at the present circumstance," Howard told local radio.
"I think the Australian public is entitled to effective laws and God forbid that we should ever have a terrorist attack in this country," Howard said.
An Australian court will decide on Friday whether Haneef, a Queensland-based 27-year-old doctor, remains in detention as requested by police. The Australian newspaper said that despite searches across the country, the questioning six Indian doctors and 11 days detention, police had failed to find any evidence linking Haneef to the British attacks. Five other Indian doctors questioned have been released.
Two car bombs primed to explode in London`s bustling theatre and nightclub district were discovered early on June 29. The following day a jeep crashed into the terminal building at Glasgow airport and burst into flames.
All six suspects in Britain are medics from the Middle East or India. One, Iraqi-trained doctor Bilal Abdulla, 27, was charged last week with conspiring to cause explosions.
The Australian newspaper said police documents showed that while no evidence against Haneef had emerged, police still suspected he supported those behind the British failed attacks. Haneef is a second cousin to Kafeel Ahmed, one of the suspects now in a critical condition with burns from the Glasgow attack, and last contacted his cousin via an Internet chat in March/April 2007, said the documents.
The documents said Haneef was not very close to his cousin, but stayed with him and other suspects when he visited Britain in 2004. When Haneef left Britain in 2006 to travel to Australia to work, he left his mobile telephone SIM card, which one of the suspects later used to access a cheaper telephone deal. Haneef was contacted by one of the suspects in June 2007, who congratulated him on the birth of a child.
Police will argue in court on Friday that Haneef`s detention should be extended as he "appears to have a significant contact with people in the UK who appear to have been involved in the terrorist acts", said The Australian, quoting police documents. Police believe the investigation in Australia and overseas could take another 14 days to complete, the paper said.
Documents and material seized by Australian police included 1,636 photographs, a 40-gigabyte hard drive belonging to Haneef, an 80-gigabyte hard drive belonging to his friend and fellow Gold Coast doctor and two mobile telephones, the newspaper said.
Police were also looking at a personal digital assistant, two 128-megabyte flash drives, a digital camera, email documents, computer discs and a global positioning system. Under Australian terrorism laws, police can detain people and question them for 24 hours, then seek an extension to their detention. Police have so far only used 12 hours of that question.
I am an innocent pawn: Haneef
Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef, detained in connection with the failed UK terror plot, has told the Australian investigators that he "is not a terrorist" and was "an innocent pawn". According to media reports, the medical practitioner has claimed himself to be an innocent pawn, wrongly deemed guilty by association and family ties to known British terror suspects.
"He (Haneef) is not, he insists, a terrorist," `The Australian` said. According to the paper, it has been seen that the determination to keep him in a double cell at the Brisbane watchhouse, where he is permitted to read magazines but not newspapers, and the paucity of incriminating evidence that has been so far recovered against the 27-year-old from Bangalore in India indicates that Haneef is not a terrorist.
As the Law Council of Australia yesterday described Haneef`s predicament as "indefinite detention by stealth", top-level documentation reveals the reasoning of the AFP, its suspicions and vague circumstantial evidence. The documentation, known to the newspaper, refers to police suspicions, relations, connections, phone numbers, borrowed SIM cards and overseas terrorism. But nowhere does it confirm any finding yet of sufficient substance to justify charging Haneef. (Courtesy: Zee News, July 13, 2007)