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Haneef's wife appeals to PM for help

Exclusive pics by Aakash Polali - Daijiworld Media Network
Bangalore, Jul 15: With hopes of Mohammed Haneef's early return dashed, his wife Firdaus on Saturday appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister AK Antony to help her "innocent husband" who has been charged with supporting a terrorist organisation in Australia.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, a visibly shaken and angry Firdaus said "they (the Australian authorities) cannot do this injustice" to her doctor husband, who has been booked for "recklessness rather than intention".

The specific allegation against Haneef is that he was reckless in providing a SIM card to cousin Kafeel who is accused of driving a burning vehicle into Glasgow airport.

"I had patience till now because I thought that they will not find anything and they will not charge him without any reason. But I did not know that the Australian police is so stupid and are charging on something so senseless," she said in an emotionally-choked voice.

"I appeal to our Prime Minister as well as our Defence Minister to help us out of this as everyone knows he is innocent," she told reporters, who had been waiting outside their residence since early morning when the news about Haneef being charged came in.

Asked whether the family was trying to get in touch with Haneef's lawyer in the light of hearing of Haneef's bail application being adjourned to Monday, Firdaus said "We are trying to contact him, but have not been able to. We are trying to do something."

A pale-looking Firdaus, who has given birth to a baby girl a few days ago and is still weak, broke down as she said, "All our lives are connected to him (Haneef). My life, my daughter's life, his mother, his brother's. So I appeal to the Prime Minister to please help us out."

Earlier, she termed the charges slapped against Haneef as "completely baseless" and maintained that he was "innocent". "Everybody knows that he is innocent. Even the Australian people know that he is innocent. If he had to be charged for the SIM card, he would have been charged on the first day itself when he was detained," she said.

According to Firdaus, "they (Australian authorities) did not charge him because they knew it (giving of the SIM card) was not an offence".

Blaming the Australian police for keeping him under detention for the past 12 days, Firdaus said, "Even after 12 days they have not been able to find anything because he is innocent. Now they are simply charging, I do not know on what basis."

She said the cousins (Sabeel and Kafeel) were "friends" and Haneef gave the SIM card to Sabeel as their contract in UK was for two years and "since after an year, we had to go to Australia, he just gave it. After that he (Haneef) has not been paying anything for the card".

Firdaus said Haneef and Sabeel were in touch with each other. But their conversation was restricted to "medical environment in Australia" and nothing else, she said.

Haneef has fair chances to come out clean, say Indian lawyers

Jul 15: Mohammed Haneef has a fair chance to come out innocent as no terrorism law can hold him guilty for giving his mobile phone SIM card to his cousin, suspected to be part of the failed terror plot in Britain, feel Indian legal experts.

"They can't pronounce him guilty just for giving a mobile SIM card to his cousin Sabeel Ahmed, suspected to be behind the Britain terror plot, unless they prove it was given intentionally and Haneef knew about the conspiracy," said well-known criminal lawyer RK Anand.

"Till now they haven't come across any such evidence, which certainly reflects his innocence. It is very likely that he may walk out without being held guilty," Anand told IANS.

Anand added it seemed quite evident that Australian authorities have failed to gather strong evidence against him and now the Indian government should take up the issue with its Australian counterpart and lodge its formal protest.

Another criminal lawyer Rebecca Mammen concurred.

"The Indian government should come out in his defence as it is their obligation to work for the rights and safety of Indian citizens abroad."

Haneef was charged in Brisbane, where he was detained July 2, with supporting a terrorist organisation by "recklessly" giving his mobile phone SIM card to people planning the British bomb attacks in the last week of June."

The offence, according to Australian laws, carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Another criminal lawyer Vrinda Grover went one step ahead and said that Haneef was illegally detained and charged by the Australian investigating agencies.

"Haneef hasn't transferred or given any weapon to his cousin and giving a SIM card to anyone is not a sin. He has fair chances and in all probability will come out clean, but damage to his reputation has been done," Grover told IANS.

Mammen pointed out that people were charged with similar offences in India as well but had come out scot free after a tortuous legal process.

"Remember the parliament attack case in December 2001. College lecturer Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani was booked on similar charges, but was later freed for lack of evidence," she reminded.

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