Thu, Dec 25, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Australia will not apologize to wronged Indian doctor


The Australian government and opposition yesterday refused to apologize to an Indian doctor wrongly charged over a British terrorist plot as his lawyers said they would seek substantial compensation.

Mohamed Haneef has demanded an apology for being mistakenly arrested, detained and charged over a failed plot in July last year to detonate bombs in London and Glasgow, while his lawyers say he will seek compensation for his ordeal.

An official report released on Tuesday found that Australian authorities wrongfully arrested and held Haneef, now living in the Middle East, as they ignored evidence and botched the high-profile investigation.

But Attorney-General Robert McClelland said it was up to the previous Australian government to apologize, while his predecessor said Haneef should not be entitled to an apology or compensation for his ordeal.

“I don’t apologize for seeking to ensure that the law works as intended,” former attorney general Philip Ruddock, who was in charge of the justice department when Haneef was arrested in July last year, told Australian radio.

“My view is that one should not apologize for seeking to ensure that matters that tragically occur that involve terrorist acts are thoroughly investigated to see whether or not there are any implications for Australia,” he said.

“I have seen nothing in the report which suggests that the conduct that I undertook should have been conducted in any other way,” he said a day after retired judge John Clark issued his damning report on the Haneef case.

Haneef’s working visa was also revoked and he was unceremoniously kicked out of Australia even after the flawed case against him finally collapsed two weeks after it was launched in a blaze of publicity.

But the report by retired judge John Clarke cleared the then ailing former government of pursuing the case for political reasons. McClelland said the government of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would not apologize at the current stage of the legal process as it was clear Haneef would launch an action for compensation.

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