Haneef urges Australian Government to widen scope of inquiry

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Melbourne, Mar.17 : Bangalore-based Dr. Mohamed Haneef has urged the Kevin Rudd Government in Australia to widen the scope of the judicial inquiry into last year's bungled investigation against him.

In an exclusive interview to The Australian, Dr. Haneef said the inquiry should be given powers to ensure all documents are released, and that witnesses, including Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and former immigration minister Kevin Andrews - as well as investigators, prosecutors and bureaucrats - are compelled to give evidence and face cross-examination.

Dr Haneef's lawyers are seeking discussions with federal Attorney-General Robert McLelland in an effort to widen the inquiry, which does not have the power to subpoena witnesses or compel testimony.

The inquiry will be headed by former NSW Supreme Court judge John Clarke who has been asked to examine the arrest, detention, charging, prosecution and revocation of Dr Haneef's visa on the basis of "secret" information.

"I am very pleased to hear that there is going to be an inquiry. Hopefully, it will take the right course. I think there should be powers to compel people to give evidence, otherwise the truth won't be revealed," Dr. Haneef said.

"The Government regards the Clarke inquiry as the most appropriate and effective way to get the facts while protecting national security information," a spokesman said.

Clarke has expressed his willingness to go to India to interview Dr Haneef if the doctor is unable to travel to Australia.

Dr Haneef will seek compensation over his treatment, which followed foiled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow last year.

"I will leave it to my lawyers to ... advise me as to what are the options and what I am entitled to. The whole of my career has been ruined, my family has been put into trouble and made to suffer, and my reputation has been dragged through the mud," Dr. Haneef said.

Arrested at Brisbane airport and held for 12 days, Dr Haneef was then charged with recklessly supporting a terrorist group. The charges, later dismissed, were based on him giving a phone SIM card to one of the accused in Britain, a second cousin, eight months before the attacks.

After Dr Haneef was granted bail, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews revoked his visa on the basis of secret evidence supplied by the Australian Federal Police that has never been made public.

His lawyer, Peter Russo, has brought in leading law firm Maurice Blackburn to represent Dr. Haneef.

ANI

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