Haneef's lawyer cleared over leaking the doc's interview to media

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Melbourne, Feb 2 (UNI) The lawyer for Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef who was arrested by the Australian authorities in connection with last year's failed Glasgow International Airport bombings , has escaped punishment for leaking a transcript of his client's police interview to the media.

Barrister Stephen Keim attracted praise from the legal fraternity but harsh criticism from the Howard government and the Australian Federal Police for releasing the 142-page transcript to 'The Australian' in July last year.

The document was released just days after Dr Haneef was charged with supporting a terrorist organisation. Within a fortnight of its publication the charge was dropped, amid intense media scrutiny.

In the interview, Dr Haneef rejected several of the claims relied on by prosecutors, including that he lived with British terror suspects Sabeel and Kafeel Ahmed.

Mr Keim's unorthodox decision to release the transcript drew the ire of AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty who complained to the Legal Services Commission of Queensland. A second complaint was later lodged by Brisbane solicitor.

A relieved Mr Keim admitted to feeling happy as the decision drew near, but played down the ordeal.

''The only people who have really suffered an ordeal is Dr Haneef and his family,'' the Age quoted him as saying.

The Federal Court late last year reinstated Dr Haneef's work visa - which had been cancelled by the Howard government - but he remains apprehensive about what might happen if he returns from India.

UNI XC ARB AS1701

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