Oz police chief rejects resignation call

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Sydney, Feb.2 : Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty has rejected calls for his resignation, despite fresh pressures mounted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the legal fraternity over the handling of the Mohamed Haneef case and his call for a media blackout during the hearing of terror trials.

Rudd rejected Keelty's call for a media blackout, while the Legal Services Commission of Queensland has decided to dismiss his complaint against Dr. Haneef's barrister, Stephen Keim, who had provided The Australian newspaper with the police record of interview showing Dr Haneef was being unjustly treated by police and prosecutors.

"I think the media's role in the Haneef case was in the national interest. "We're not going to be in the business of imposing some sort of media blackout on the reporting of terrorism cases," news.com.au quoted Rudd, as saying.

Expressing confidence in Keelty, Rudd said: "The media should abide by the laws of the land."

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman said last night Keelty was unfit to remain as commissioner and should quit.

"He should find another job. If he doesn't, the Government should find another job for him," O'Gorman said.

Asked last night if he would consider resigning, Keelty said through a spokesman he would not dignify such a question with a response.

Keelty's controversial media blackout proposal, made in a speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday, has been widely criticised by the federal Opposition, media and civil liberties groups.

Keelty said he believed media coverage of terrorism cases was inaccurate, ill informed and a potential threat to the justice process.

In his speech, Keelty took a thinly veiled swipe at Keim, saying that he leaking of information was a threat to justice.

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