Haneef likely to return to Australia for job: Russo

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Melbourne, Dec 22: Dr Mohammad Haneef, the Indian doctor whose work permit was restored by the Australian Federal Court yesterday, will most likely try to re-register as a doctor in Queensland and apply for a job with his former employer, Gold Coast Hospital, his lawyer Peter Russo said.

Mr Russo was expected to discuss the full implications of the decision with Mr Haneef later today. The 27-year-old Indian doctor was pleased with the news but had been hard to contact because he was in Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, The Australian quoted Mr Russo as saying. Dr Haneef would return to his home in Bangalore next month and then investigate his options to return to Australia. Mrs Haneef had some apprehensions about allowing her husband to return following his treatment at the hands of Australian authorities earlier this year.

Dr Haneef was arrested at Brisbane International Airport while attempting to board a flight to India on July 2, just days after the failed UK terror attacks.

He was held for almost four weeks and charged with providing support to terrorists after it was learnt he had left his SIM card with his second cousin Sabeel Ahmed when he left the UK to work in Australia last year.

Charges were also brought against Sabeel Ahmed, the brother of Kafeel Ahmed who allegedly crashed a flaming jeep into Glasgow Airport on June 30, in connection with the bombing. Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg dropped the charges against Dr Haneef later, saying there was no reasonable prospect of securing a conviction.

Upon his release, Dr Haneef returned to India and his lawyers launched an appeal against then immigration minister Kevin Andrews' decision to cancel his work visa.

The appeal was successful, with Justice Jeffrey Spender ruling that Mr Andrews had applied the wrong legal test in cancelling the visa on ''character grounds'' because of his association with the Ahmeds.

Federal government lawyers appealed the decision to the full bench of the Federal Court last month but the three-judge panel yesterday dismissed the action, paving the way for Dr Haneef's return.

Even though Australian government can appeal against the unanimous ruling in High Court, it is being considered an embarrassment for former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

New Immigration Minister Chris Evans said he would not appeal the latest decision to the High Court or cancelling Dr Haneef's visa on different grounds.


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