On 31 July this year the Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, in a desperate attempt to justify his capricious decision to cancel the visa of Dr Mohammed Haneef, told the media that he took the action he did in part because the Australian Federal Police advised him that Dr Haneef may have been aware of plans by his cousins to blow up targets in London and Glasgow.

“The Federal Police advised me prior to making my decision that AFP investigators” suspect that the Internet conversation between Haneef and his brother may be evidence of Haneef’s awareness of the conspiracy to plan and prepare the acts of terrorism in London and Glasgow, Mr Andrews said.

Dr Haneef’s cousins Kafeel and Sabeel are alleged to have been involved in terror plots in the UK in June, and Kafeel drove a flaming Cherokee jeep into Glasgow airport on 30 June and later died from his injuries.

Mr Andrews selectively quoted from a chat room conversation between Dr Haneef and his brother in India on the afternoon of Dr Haneef’s attempted departure from Australia, and seized upon the fact that the conversation made reference to Dr Haneef’s second cousin Kafeel using Dr Haneef’s SIM card and that Kafeel “is in some sort of project over there.”

In other words, said Mr Andrews, Dr Haneef knew what his cousins Sabeel and Kafeel were up to and that’s why he wanted to leave Australia.

Dr Haneef says he had no idea and that the reference to a project was to Kafeel’s PH D.

Last week Bangalore Police announced that there is no evidence that Kafeel had worked out a plan to bomb Glasgow airport. The Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Lab examined two computer discs belonging to Kafeel but could only find jihadi and political material.

“There are no clues on Kafeel’s involvement with any banned or terrorist group,” a Police official said.

These findings by the Bangalore Police are significant. They further strengthen Dr Haneef’s consistent claim that he had no knowledge of his cousin’s alleged involvement in terrorist activity and that he had given his SIM Card to his cousin Sabeel as a gift.

And these findings by Bangalore Police leave open this question – on what basis did the AFP and Kevin Andrews believe that Dr Haneef had knowledge of his cousins involvement in terrorist activity given that there is no evidence “of a plan being worked out” as Bangalore Police put it? It looks like nothing more than guilt by association given the Bangalore Police investigation.

The Haneef case just keeps getting worse for Mr Andrews, but he still insists stubbornly that he has done the right thing in this case even though the evidence is now overwhelming that he has wronged an innocent man. It’s time to admit your mistake Mr Andrews.

Peter Fray

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