Justice for Dr. Haneef sign now

Dr. Mohammed Haneef was arrested in Australia in early July as a possible suspect in the Glasgow airport car bombing. He was charged with "reckless support to terrorism" due to the fact that he gave his SIM card in England to his cousin Sabeel Ahmed who was arrested in connection with the attacks. Investigators alleged that the SIM card was found in the charred car in Glasgow. Dr. Haneef was also leaving for India on a one-way ticket and Australian Federal Police investigators said he had no explanation for that when asked.

However, the reality is that the SIM card had been found in Liverpool, England, far away from the scene of the attack. Transcripts also show that Dr. Haneef had told the investigators that he had bought a one-way ticket since he did not have funds in his account and his father-in-law would buy the return ticket from India. Even without these huge discrepancies in the prosecution's case, the magistrate decided to release Mr. Haneef on bail during the course of the trial.

However, Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews decided that the magistrate of a court was not qualified to make an informed decision and revoked Dr. Haneef's visa on "character" grounds, ensuring that he stayed in detention. The prosecution's case further unraveled. They had alleged that Dr. Haneef had lived with Glasgow attacker Kafeel Ahmed and accused Sabeel Ahmed in England. The truth is that they had only spent some time together, knowing each other as distant relatives. Dr. Haneef had also apparently given the SIM card to Sabeel Ahmed because there was still some currency left on it and he did not want it to go to waste.

Finally, the Australian Federal Police realized they had nothing and decided to drop all charges. While what happened was bad enough, Immigration Minister Andrews has decided that the visa will remain revoked. This begs the following question: Why?

Does Mr. Andrews know something that the prosecution does not? When a person is proved innocent in a court of law, as is the case when the prosecution drops the case saying they do not have the evidence to convict, doesn't that mean the person's name should be cleared?

Unfortunately, in this post-9/11 age, archaic, anti-terror laws such as those enacted by the United States and Australia ensure that suspects spend months and years languishing in internment camps such as Guantanamo Bay without even being formally charged. They ensure that men like Dr. Haneef who are arrested and charged on a knee jerk reaction (maybe the fact that it is election year in Australia had something to do with the Howard Government wanting to burnish it's "anti-terror" credentials) will continue to have their name sullied even after being proven innocent. This refusal to restore his visa will unfortunately remain with Dr. Haneef throughout his life, wherever he decides to pursue his future career opportunities, for no fault of his own.

As a modern liberal democracy, more is expected from Australia. This Petition requests the Australian Government to prove to the world that it respects the democratic principles it espouses and it is an opportunity for it to restore the name of a man who has been wronged. We also hope that the Indian Government will also work untiringly to restore the name of one of its citizens and petition them to do all they can in this matter.

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Callie BenderBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Australian Government, Indian Government


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