Life’s little egg on face moments…

21 Aug

Remember Dr Haneef?

Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef has won the right to return to Australia after a Federal Court judge today ruled Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews had been wrong to boot him out of the country…

…at a Federal Court appeal hearing on August 8 lawyers fighting to have Dr Haneef’s visa reinstated disputed Mr Andrew’s use of the word “association” and questioned whether any relationship with an alleged criminal, even an innocent one, would be enough to cancel somebody’s visa.

Justice Jeffrey Spender handed down his decision in the Federal Court in Brisbane today.

He told the court the minister had used the wrong test in cancelling Dr Haneef’s visa.

He said the minister should have cancelled it on the grounds Dr Haneef was a person of interest to UK authorities and that he had been charged with an offence.

However, he said Mr Andrews may not be able to make a decision on those grounds now.

Justice Spender also issued a stay in his decision, which means the minister has 21 days to decide how to respond to the ruling and Dr Haneef’s visa may not be returned for at least 21 days…

Mr Haneef’s solicitor Peter Russo welcomed the court’s decision but said it was only the “first step”.

“Today’s decision may just be just a first step in a legal battle that is not over.  He and his family are gratified by the decision, but prepared for further legal battles, if necessary,” Mr Russo wrote.

“Until these matters are finally resolved Dr Haneef and his family feel they are unable to return to a normal life, both in India and abroad.”

Sydney Morning Herald

UPDATE 22 August

As is quite well-known by now, the government is appealing that decision, and Haneef’s lawyers have released a second police transcript. You may find the PDF file here, courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald. I haven’t read it yet.

UPDATE 23 August

Hmmm. The spin Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews put on the famous internet conversations of Dr Haneef is not looking good…

Legal Eagle has posted a cautious analysis: Limits on executive power. She concludes: “The decision of Minister Andrews to revoke Dr Haneef’s visa makes me deeply uncomfortable.”

UPDATE 25 August

When I wrote about the Haneef case after reading the first police transcript I said: “The trouble is most of us know very little about India and Pakistan and bugger-all about Islam. I include myself in that. The worry is that may well apply to those in power who should know. One even suspects that there are some, and not all that far removed from seats of power, or from the ABC, whose view of Islam has very much been shaped by Melanie Phillips.” Today in The Sydney Morning Herald, reviewing the second transcript, David Marr writes:

“Geography was not one of my better subjects at school,” Detective Sergeant Adam Simms of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team admitted to the prisoner in the sixth hour of the interrogation. “Bangalore, where’s that in relation to Pakistan?”

As good a reason as any for the Australian Federal Police to be so furious this week at the release of the transcript of the second interrogation of Mohamed Haneef, is the embarrassment the force will endure as the ignorance of the interrogators is displayed page after page. For 10 days detectives on three continents had been gathering whatever evidence they could find about the Gold Coast doctor, but Detective Simms had not opened an atlas.

He did not know where Liverpool was from London. The name Mysore meant nothing to him. It seems he’d never heard of Urdu. The ways of Skype were new to him: “I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to this sort of thing.” His grasp of a doctor’s career paths was shaky. He had no clue what Muslims do in Ramadan. “OK,” he said when Haneef explained. “Excuse my ignorance, yeah.”

Simms, of the Queensland Police, emerges as a decent man from the 378-page transcript. He dealt with Haneef politely, hour after hour as the interrogation went on through the night. But Simms’s ignorance of Islam is bewildering. This was, after all, the man to whom the federal police had delegated the task of discovering whether Australia was holding a dangerous fanatic in league with Islamists who had just tried to detonate car bombs in London and Glasgow…

Fair comment, I’d say. Isn’t this something of a problem for us?

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Posted by on August 21, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, immigration, News and Current Affairs, Politics



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