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Australian report clears medic
Report says 'errors' were made in arrest of Indian doctor after Glasgow attack.
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2008 08:06 GMT

Haneef currently resides in the UAE but is considering a return to Australia [EPA]

Australia's attorney-general has said that it was "unacceptable" to charge an Indian doctor over suspected links to one of the men accused of an attack on Glasgow airport in the United Kingdom.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested Mohamed Haneef in July 2007 and held him for 11 days without charge after it was claimed his mobile phone SIM card was found at the Glasgow site.

"Errors were made from ground level to the highest level," Robert McClelland told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

"A man was wrongly charged ... a man was detained for longer than was really necessary. These situations are totally unacceptable and should not have occurred."

A judicial inquiry into his arrest, ordered by the new Labor government, found Haneef had no prior knowledge or involvement in the Glasgow attacks and should never have been charged, saying some decisions in the case were "mystifying".

The report said the Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (Asio) consistently advised the previous conservative government that there was no credible evidence against Haneef.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) also told the government the same thing, but later changed its position and backed a prosecutor's call to charge Haneef.

John Howard 'cleared'

The inquiry cleared John Howard, the former prime minister, of any wrongdoing, saying Haneef's arrest was not politically motivated in order to capitalise on concerns about security.

But it said the government failed to analyse the conflicting opinions held by the intelligence services and the police.

"From a whole-of-government perspective ... no serious attempt was ever made to interrogate Asio's assessment of  Haneef or to reconcile it with the approach pursued by the AFP," the report said.

Haneef, now living in the United Arab Emirates, has previously said his family is still coming to terms with what happened in Australia, but he could still return to the
country.

Source:
Agencies
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