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Bangalore: Family Relieved over News of Haneef's Release


Bangalore, Jul 13: The family of Mohammed Haneef, detained in Australia over his suspected links with terror plot in last month's Glasgow Airport attack today looked relieved after hearing the news that the Indian doctor would be released shortly.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP), who had detained Haneef for the past ten days on the behest of British police, had decided not to press for extension of his detention with the court as they could not produce any hard evidence on his complicity in the case.

The court had allowed 12 hours of questioning Haneef, spread over three days, and he was expected to be released by Monday.

"I am very happy and I thank the media of both India and Australia. I was confident that Haneef will be freed early. I am trying to get in touch with the (Haneef's) lawyer," Haneef's wife Firdaus said today.

Speaking to UNI she said that Haneef was always confident of getting freed. "I spoke to him last night and he said he was confident of getting freed in a couple of days. I want to see that day when he comes out of the detention. We are waiting to see him back in home," she said.

Haneef's brother Shoiab said the family was releived on hearing the news but would like to react only after his brother was released by the Australian police. Meanwhile, media reports from Australia said in the AFP had been allowed 12 hours of questioning time, spread over three days, by the Australian court to question Haneef. The doctor had been shifted from watch house to the police headquarters this afternoon. Haneef's DNA was also tested this morning.

Earlier, the AFP wanted to seek three more days of detention of Dr Haneef but after the hearing was adjourned yesterday, it decided to withdraw its application seeking extension of detention.

Three people, all from Bangalore, had been suspected to have involved in the June 30 failed Glasgow attack. This included the Ahmed brothers -- Kafeel and Sabeel and their cousin Haneef. While Kafeel, an aeronautical engineer, had been confirmed to be the driver who drove the blazing Jeep Charokee into the airport, his younger brother Sabeel, also a doctor, was arrested while going in his car in Liverpool. Haneef, who works in Gold Coast hospital in Brisbane was detained in the Australian city on a tip off from the British Police as Kafeel was said to have used a simcard belonging to Haneef.

Earlier report:

Extention to Indian doctor's detention dropped


Canberra, Jul 13: Australian police today withdrew a court bid to extend the detention of an Indian doctor held for 11 days without charge over possible links to failed car bomb attacks in Britain.

Queensland based doctor Mohamed Haneef, 27, is one of six Indian doctors questioned in Australia over the suspected al Qaeda-linked plot in Britain. The others have been released.

''We have withdrawn an application to extend dead time and have recommenced questioning,'' an Australian Federal Police (AFP) spokesman told the sources.

It is not clear when Haneef will be freed as Australian anti-terrorism laws allow police a total of 24 hours of questioning of detained persons. They have only used 12 hours.

The AFP spokesman said Haneef would be questioned for 12 hours, but that he would decide whether to have breaks. In theory he could be questioned for 12 straight hours and freed unless they decide to charge him.

Australian media reported today that police had no evidence against Haneef, but they believe he has had ''significant contact'' with the suspects.

Civil rights groups and lawyers have called on Haneef to either be charged or set free, but Prime Minister John Howard said today he was not uncomfortable with Haneef's detention without charge under tough anti-terrorism laws.

''I'm happy with the laws because I sponsored them. I defend them. We do need to arm ourselves with the laws that are being applied at the present circumstance,'' Howard told local radio.

''I think the Australian public is entitled to effective laws and God forbid that we should ever have a terrorist attack in this country,'' Howard said.

Two car bombs primed to explode in London's bustling theatre and nightclub district were discovered early on June 29. The following day a jeep crashed into the terminal building at Glasgow airport and burst into flames.

All six suspects in Britain are medics from the West Asia or India. One, Iraqi-trained doctor Bilal Abdulla, 27, was charged last week with conspiring to cause explosions.

No Evidence

The Australian newspaper said that despite searches across the country, the questioning six Indian doctors and 11 days detention, police had failed to find any evidence linking Haneef to the British attacks.

The newspaper said police documents showed that while no evidence against Haneef had emerged, police still suspected he supported those behind the British failed attacks.

Haneef is a second cousin to Kafeel Ahmed, one of the suspects now in a critical condition with burns from the Glasgow attack, and last contacted his cousin via an Internet chat in March/April 2007, said the documents.

The documents said Haneef was not very close to his cousin, but stayed with him and other suspects when he visited Britain in 2004.

When Haneef left Britain in 2006 to travel to Australia to work, he left his mobile telephone sim card, which one of the suspects later used to access a cheaper telephone deal.

Haneef was contacted by one of the suspects in June 2007, who congratulated him on the birth of a child.

Police will argue in court today that Haneef's detention should be extended as he ''appears to have a significant contact with people in the UK who appear to have been involved in the terrorist acts'', said The Australian, quoting police documents.

Police believe the investigation in Australia and overseas could take another 14 days to complete, the paper said.

Documents and material seized by Australian police included 1,636 photographs, a 40-gigabyte hard drive belonging to Haneef, an 80-gigabyte hard drive belonging to his friend and fellow Gold Coast doctor and two mobile telephones, the newspaper said.

Police were also looking at a personal digital assistant, two 128-megabyte flash drives, a digital camera, email documents, computer discs and a global positioning system.

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