Sydney, Jun 18: Lawyers defending Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef over his alleged links to last year's failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow, have claimed that the involvement of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet suggested their client was the victim of a conspiracy.
One of Dr Haneef's lawyers Rod Hodgson said that the information contained in documents obtained by Dr Haneef's legal team under Freedom of Information laws suggested a previously unknown level of collusion between government departments. "In this matter, less than 48 hours after his arrest, the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet convene a meeting to discuss a matter involving terrorism and an immigrant," The Australian quoted Hodgson as saying. The new documents show PM and C convened a meeting with the Immigration and Foreign Affairs departments (DFAT and DIAC) as well as other "relevant agencies", on July 4 last year, two days after Dr Haneef was arrested. One day after the meeting, one of the departments - either PM and C or Immigration - circulated an "options paper" on the way forward for the Haneef matter.
According to an email from PM and C's Freedom of Information officer Angelo Anagnost to Department of Immigration and Citizenship official Mary Miller, the purpose of the meeting was so that DFAT and DIAC could "outline how their respective pieces of legislation operated and who was to make decisions under that legislation".
Hodgson said the wording of the document suggested that the cancellation of Dr Haneef's visa would have been one of the options canvassed, and included in the options paper produced the next day. "I think that's more likely than not," he added.
In another document, PM and C urges DIAC not to release the options paper as it contained "factual inaccuracies" and would provoke "ill-informed speculation", the lawyer said and added that the documents also show the DIAC was refusing to release secret information used by then immigration minister Kevin Andrews to cancel Dr Haneef's visa, directly contradicting assurances it would co-operate fully with Clarke.