Australian govt tenders apology to Dr Haneef

The Australian govt has tendered an apology for wrongfully detaining Dr Haneef on terror charges.

Last Updated: Dec 23, 2010, 12:30 PM IST

Melbourne: Admitting their mistake,
Australian government Thursday formally apologised to Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef and said sorry for wrongly detaining
him on terror charges.

The formal apology, issued by Australian government,
came after Haneef reportedly received a substantial but
undisclosed compensation payout from the government following
his bungled detention on UK terror related charges in 2007.

"The AFP (Australian Federal Police) acknowledges that
it was mistaken and that Dr Haneef was innocent of the offence
of which he was suspected," the apology read.

"The Commonwealth apologises and hopes that the
compensation to be paid to Dr Haneef will mark the end of an
unfortunate chapter and allow Dr Haneef to move forward with
his life and career," it said, according to AAP report.

It was also acknowledged that arresting, charging,
detaining and eventually cancelling Haneef`s visa created
"serious consequences for him and his family" by the
government.

The apology, which was released by the
Attorney-General`s Department yesterday, agreed that the terms
of the settlement remain secret.

Haneef`s lawyer Rod Hodgson has said the apology
reaffirmed his client`s innocence.

"We congratulate the government for recognising an
injustice done on the watch of the previous government and for
this public apology and declaration of innocence," he said.
"The apology means a lot to our client."

Hodgson has said the Australian people would form
their own judgments about Andrews` refusal to offer his own
apology.

"On one side we have ASIO, the Queensland Police
Service, the findings of the Clarke Inquiry, the AFP and the
current Australian government all prepared to declare that Haneef is innocent," Hodgson said.
"Andrews continues to isolate himself by his
aggressive refusals to make any form of apology for his role."

As part of this week`s mediation, Haneef agreed not to
proceed with defamation action against Andrews.
"The claim against me was not pursued and has been
withdrawn. Based on the legal advice I received, I was always
confident that the claim for defamation was adventurous and
would not have succeeded," Andrews said earlier this week.

Hodgson has said the Haneef family has remained in
Brisbane after the conclusion of compensation talks this week.

"They have been buoyed by the number of ordinary
Australians who have come up to them to wish them well,"
Hodgson said, adding "Haneef again thanks all Australians for
their support."

PTI