Last Oz govt always took Dr Haneef as "guilty"

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Sydney, July 1 : Quoting confidential documents which were released on their demand, the lawyers representing Dr Mohamed Haneef, of Indian origin, have said that the previous John Howard government in Australia never considered the possibility of him not being involved in terrorism, a charge which was leveled against him last year.

Lawyer Rod Hodgson today said that the documents show that the previous government's contingencies never took into account the possibility that Dr Haneef was not linked to terrorist activities.

"The documents are important for what they show, but also what they don't show. And, they don't show any consideration being given to the possibility that Dr Haneef was not involved in terrorism. They appear to have locked into a view that Dr Haneef was involved in terrorism and all of their actions were premised on that assumption," news.com.au quoted Hodgson as saying.

Other emails in the documents show the prime minister's office was heavily involved in the Haneef case, Hodgson said and added "It was pretty clear it was managed by the prime minister and cabinet. There's a flurry of emails there that resulted with a set of talking points about the visa cancellation, sanctioned by the prime minister and cabinet and those distributed to high level public servants then to be disseminated to the various ministers."

Dr Haneef's lawyers publicly released the documents, which are largely made up of briefing notes and emails by senior members of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). These documents show representatives of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet met with immigration and foreign affairs officials on July 4, 2007, two days after Dr Haneef's arrest.

From the meeting, the various departments prepared an options paper detailing possible courses of action, depending on whether federal police decided to lay charges against the Indian-born Dr Haneef. And, he was finally charged with supporting terrorism on July 14 and granted bail by a Brisbane magistrate two days later.

One of emails from a DIAC official revealed a contingency plan to transport Dr Haneef under heavy guard to Sydney's Villawood detention centre via a Queensland Police Air Wing aircraft.

ANI

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