Haneef returns to Aus for compensation claims

Last Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010 - 11:22

Melbourne: Wrongly implicated and held
over a botched UK terror attack, Mohammad Haneef now hopes the
resolution of his compensation claims would give him a chance
to move on from his ordeal, though the Indian doctor believes
it is "too late" for an apology now.

Haneef, who arrived in Brisbane last night for
mediation talks for his hefty compensation claims against the
Australian government, has dubbed his return as "a very
important step".

Speaking to the media, Haneef said the terrorism
charges were a "traumatic experience" for him and his family
and impacted his career and reputation.

Haneef, who was working at the Gold Coast Hospital
before his arrest in 2007, still looks forward to return to
practice in Australia.

"It`s too late to expect that now," he said about a
personal apology.

"(The arrest) was a traumatic experience for me and my
family as a whole. It has impacted on all areas of my life,
especially on my career and my reputation," he said.

However, he said Australia was "a very fair place" to
live and that he had enjoyed his work in the country.

"Coming back to Australia represents a very important
step for me and for my family. I`m grateful to the Australian
government and the Australian people for their ongoing support
and I`m hopeful that the upcoming mediation will be an
opportunity to resolve this matter and give my family and me a
chance to move forward," he said.

Haneef is now practising in the UAE but had previously
hoped to train as a medical specialist in Australia.

A 2008 inquiry upheld his consistent denials of any
wrongdoing, and found he was innocent of the charge filed by
the Australian Federal Police.

"I am very pleased to be back in Australia. My family
and I loved living here and there are many of our friends
here," he said.

He plans to spend the next 10 days in the country and
wants to take his daughter to the Gold Coast.

His lawyer Rod Hodgson said Haneef had suffered
terrible injustice.

Mediation of his compensation claim, expected to run
to millions of dollars, will be conducted next week by former

Queensland corruption commissioner and judge Tony Fitzgerald.

Haneef said he was still considering returning to
Australia with his wife Firdous and three-year-old daughter
Haniyah, but would not be drawn on whether this was dependent
on any settlement from the governmment.

Hodgson said Haneef`s treatment was a disgrace and a
stain on Australia`s reputation as a fair place to live and
work. He said the damages would be significant but it would
be inappropriate to nominate a number.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 17, 2010 - 11:22

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