Monday, July 23, 2007

Free Haneef!

There is currently no case against Dr Haneef.

That’s just my opinion, but on the basis of what we know, I’ll stick to it.

I can’t understand the minority of writers of letters to the media who think we should “trust” our government, who believe that the Government must have more information on Haneef that they can’t put in the public domain. On such trust were the innocent marched to fascism in the 1930s.

Already it’s been revealed that:

- Haneef had a perfectly logical reason for traveling to India and had sought a week’s leave from his employer. Why would he publicly seek leave to return to India if he wanted to “do a runner”? Wouldn’t he have just got a ticket and left?

- Haneef had a perfectly logical reason for accepting his father-in-law’s offer to purchase a ticket to India. He told police he had two Australian bank accounts, with the ANZ and the Commonwealth. After meeting his financial commitments here, he sent remaining monies to his family. He did not have the money for an international fare when he decided to visit his wife and child, who had been returned to hospital with complications following its birth. However, when his next pay came through, he would have had the money to purchase a ticket back to Australia. Sure, a return ticket would have been cheaper, but that was the offer made by the father-in-law.

- Haneef’s SIM card had expired nearly a year ago. Haneef left England in July 2006. He still had one month’s charge left on his card. Dr. Sabile asked if he could use the free minutes on the card and so Haneef gave it to him. (Throughout the interview there are numerous references to family members and people in the Indian community indulging in small acts of generosity towards each other.)

- Haneef’s SIM card wasn’t even in the jeep at Glasgow Airport! Despite initial media reports to the contrary, the SIM card was not in the burning jeep, but hundreds of miles away at Liverpool. Whether Dr Sabile had extended the contract for the card in his own name or not is not clear at this stage, but neither is Sabile charged with committing an act of terrorism.
Haneef was not sharing accommodation in England with anyone involved in the incidents in Glasgow and London. This was clearly established in the transcript but was one of the reasons provided by the AFP to Immigration Minister Andrews as a reason why Haneef should fail the insidious “character test”. Bush, Chaney and Rumsfeld have all been allowed into Australia and they are killers. They are men of failed character. False grounds were used to revoke Haneef’s Section 457 visa and place him in detention.

- Haneef was not plotting a terrorist attack on a Queensland tourist site. He did not have “photos of the building’s foundations” as alleged in various Sunday papers out of the Murdoch stable. He had family photos taken during a visit by his wife and a publicly distributed brochure about Queensland’s tallest building. Full credit to Keelty for quickly denying that Haneef was facing such charges. It’s not the first time he’s had to put some distance between himself and the views or the actions of the Howard Government.

- Haneef did not have the contact names and addresses of terrorists in his diary. In Questions 1395 to 1400, Haneef was asked by Sgt Simms to identify some names and addresses in the back of his diary. Haneef denied that it was his handwriting. Simms realizes something is wrong and asks to be excused “for a second”. He returns and says “Okay. Thought that might have been the case. The person, the Police Officer that’s given me this, incorrectly told me that that was a copy of your diary. In fact it’s not, this is what has been written by Police. So it’s not your handwriting at all.” What the hell are the police doing tampering with evidence? Planting evidence???

Maybe there will be more to come out about the Haneef case, but for mine, the guy should be out on bail and allowed to develop, with his lawyers, a defence against what look like very flimsy, pathetic charges. He should not be in detention because a Government Minister decides to deprive him of his visa on false grounds.

One last thought. Detective Sergeant Adam Simms (assisted by Federal Agent Neil Thompson) began their questioning of Haneef at around 11pm on July 2 when he was arrested at Brisbane Airport. The questioning resumed as a formal first interview at 11am on July 3 and that session ended at 5.31pm that day. Sixteen hundred questions were asked. On seven or eight occasions, after each rest break or after each change of tape, Simms detailed Haneef’s rights, including the right to be silent, and to have a lawyer or a friend or relative present. On each occasion, Haneef expressed his willingness to proceed with the interview. Now I’m not suggesting that an accused person wishing to remain silent or to have a lawyer present should be taken as feeling guilty, but surely this naïve faith that the Federal Police questioning will be over shortly and that he has nothing to hide (“If it’s straight forward questions I would rather answer it myself,” says Haneef to Simms) can be taken as a sign that Haneef was feeling innocent.

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