Friday, 20 July 2007

Big holes appearing in the case against Haneef

Significant errors have been uncovered in the case again Mohammed Haneef.

First, the police affidavit does not match the transcript of his interview:

According to the police affidavit, "On July 2 and 3, 2007 Haneef
participated in a taped record of interview with the AFP and stated-- Whilst in
the UK he resided with suspects 1 and 2 (alleged suicide bomber Kafeel Ahmed and
his brother Sabeel Ahmed), at 13 Bentley Road, Liverpool."

However, in the record of interview, obtained by the newspaper, Haneef told
police that he lived at 13 Bentley Road, Liverpool, with several doctors, whom
he names. None were the two suspects. (1)
Second, the affidavit stated, incorrectly, that Haneef could not explain why he had booked a one way ticket:

The second major issue on which there is an obvious discrepancy is to do
with the fact that Haneef was trying to leave Australia on a one-way ticket. The
police affidavit claims Haneef had no explanation for this.

While in the taped interview, Haneef gives a detailed explanation saying
that since he did not have funds, his father-in-law had booked and paid for the
one-way ticket with an understanding that when he goes to Bangalore, the family
would arrange for the return ticket. (2)

Kevin Andrews, the immigration minister who cancelled Haneef's visa, read the affidavit but not the police transcript. If he used the affidavit to justify his suspicion that Haneef 'associated' with criminals, then the decision to cancel looks even shakier. Before, it looked premature and malicious. Now it looks like it might have been completely wrong as well.

Third, Haneef's SIM card was NOT found at the scene of the Glasgow attack(3) though it had been claimed in court that it was(4):

In Brisbane last Saturday, the court was told that Haneef's SIM card was found in the car that was smashed into Glasgow airport.

But the ABC has been told by sources in the UK and Australia that the SIM card was first seized by police eight hours later, when his cousin Sabeel Ahmed was arrested in Liverpool.

The ABC understands the Sabeel Ahmed was arrested with two phones, one of which contained Haneef's SIM card. (3)

I don't know how significant this third revelation is - let's face it, people stupid enough to claim giving someone a SIM card is giving support to terrorism probably won't care. But it shows how venal, incompetent and premptory the handling of whole mess has been.

Curiously, Australia has granted a visa to Haneef's cousin,(5) who can travel to Australia to provide support and comfort, though that may be tricky if Haneef is in solitary 23 hours a day. The granting of the visa is a bit odd as it is reasonable to suspect that he has 'associated' with the same criminals that Haneef has - so he should also fail the character test. Maybe the Aussie government is waiting for him to get through customs before arresting him, for providing moral support to a terrorist.

1 - "Discrepancies in AFP's affidavit: Reports," PTI report in the Times of India, 20 Jul 2007. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Rest_of_World/Discrepancies_in_Australian_police_affidavit_Reports/articleshow/2219797.cms)
2 - "Inconsistencies surround Haneef case," unidentified NDTV Correspondent, July 20, 2007 . (http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20070019576&ch=7/20/2007%204:22:00%20PM)
3 - "Doubt cast on case against Haneef," unattributed ABC News story, 20th July 2007. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/07/20/1983448.htm)
4 - "SIM card ties doctor to terrorists, court told," Daniel Dasey and Kerry-Anne Walsh in the Sydney Morning Herald, July 15th, 2007. " (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/07/14/1183833835435.html?from=top5)
5 - "Australia gives visa to Haneef's cousin," by Natasha Chaka, July 20, 2007. (http://www.business-standard.com/common/storypage_c_online.php?leftnm=11&bKeyFlag=IN&autono=25676)


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