When Dr Mohammed Haneef was arrested in July last year on suspicion of involvement in botched terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow one of the main allegations against him was his links to his cousins in the UK, Sabeel and Kafeel Ahmed.

Haneef, so the AFP thought, had given Sabeel a SIM Card, which they alleged was found in Glasgow (it was later found in Liverpool) where Kafeel botched a suicide bombing. Mick Keelty announced on July 14 at a media conference in Canberra that Haneef was to be charged because he “was reckless about some of the support he provided to that group, in particular the provision of his SIM card for the use of the group,” Keelty said.

Now we know, courtesy of English judge Justice Calvert-Smith in a sentencing hearing in London last Friday, that Sabeel Ahmed was not, as the AFP had alleged, part of a terrorist organisation and that there was “no sign” that Ahmed was “an extremist or party to extremist views.”

And how do we know this? Because within 72 hours of UK Police arresting Sabeel on June 30 last year they found an email which Kafeel sent to him. That email revealed to Sabeel for the first time that his brother was involved in a terrorist plot and his brother begs forgiveness for the fact that he has never told Sabeel about his terrorist activities.

In short, by July 3 2007 the UK Police had information in the form of an email which clearly and unequivocally showed that Sabeel Ahmed was not a party to any terrorist plot. And this email completely undermines the charge laid against Haneef — he gave his SIM Card to someone who was part of a terrorist group!

Haneef was arrested at Brisbane airport on July 2. The AFP kept going to the court to get extensions of time to hold Haneef and on July 11 Adrian Sims, an AFP Officer, made a Statutory Declaration in which he said that the AFP wanted to detain Haneef longer because there “is a continuing need to collate and analyse information sourced from overseas authorities and every day new matters come to the attention of the AFP that require investigation.”

Sims further noted that a “senior UK officer has arrived in Australia to assist with the current Australian investigation and any alleged links with the UK.” Not only that, but Sims said that two AFP officers arrived in the UK on 5 July to “work cooperatively with the UK authorities in relation to this matter.”

There are a number of serious questions that the AFP and the Brisbane office of the DPP needs to answer about the Sabeel email. They are predicated on the reasonable assumption that such a crucial piece of evidence would have been seen by the Australian officers working with their UK counterparts.

Firstly, why was Haneef charged with recklessly giving support to a terrorist organisation, if the AFP or the DPP knew about this email?

Secondly, if the AFP and DPP knew about this email why wasn’t it shown to Haneef’s legal advisers?

Finally, if the AFP knew of this email when it went to the court requesting extensions of time for detaining Dr Haneef , or when Dr Haneef applied for bail, why did it not reveal the email to the court?

These questions demand answers because they go to the heart of the integrity of the criminal justice system.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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